Washington state allowing resumption of pro sports, effective immediately

T-Mobile Park, Seattle Mariners
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like eons ago that the state of Washington was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic around the United States during the spring. Since then, New York and other major metropolitan areas on the east coast have taken over that tragic title.

Sports during COVID-19

Now that the United States is in the midst of opening up during the ongoing pandemic, certain states have initiated a plan to resume professional sports. For example, the state of Texas is allowing 25% capacity for outdoor sports.

Other states such as Nevada and Florida are already prepared to host sporing events. UFC 250 will be held in Las Vegas this weekend with the 2019-20 NBA season resuming in Orlando next month.

Without a nationwide policy, these decisions are being left up to the states. And in a somewhat shocking move, Washington Governor Jay Inslee (D) just recently announced that professional sports can return to his state effective immediately.

“This memorandum applies to professional sporting activities, both indoor and outdoor, outdoor youth team sports, and outdoor adult recreational team sports,” the governor announced. “This memorandum does not apply to sporting activities connected to or administered by schools, whether primary, secondary, or post-secondary institutions; or junior hockey.”

The impact of this will be felt on many different levels.

Pro sports in Washington

There’s renewed hope that the 2020 MLB season can be salvaged amid a major financial split between the league and its players. The original plan for a truncated season included teams playing games at their home ballparks. In Washington, that would mean the Seattle Mariners.

It’s also expected that the 2020 NFL season will start on time on Sept. 10. Obviously, this means that the Seattle Seahawks would be able to host home games. As with the Mariners, it’s highly unlikely fans will be in attendance.

College athletics in Washington

The 2020 college football season remains very much up in the air right now. As noted above, there’s no set national policy when it comes to this. For example, Texas teams will likely be able to have fans in attendance. Meanwhile, the State of California college system has pretty much indicated the 2020 season won’t even be played.

That latter point is interesting in that it does not include major college football teams in the Pac 12. It only applies to schools within the Cal State University system.

Inslee is not prepared right now to allow the resumption of college athletics in his state. Whether that comes at another phase of reopening here soon remains to be seen. This obviously impacts the Washington Huskies and Washington State Cougars in the Pacific Northwest state.