Hutchinson clears way for Arkansas to resume sports going again

After the NCAA’s announcement that it had no objection to players coming back to campuses, the SEC is expected to follow along Friday and the state of Arkansas jumped in, too.

The state part is important because the SEC is still throwing out the disclaimer that schools have to follow the guidelines in each state.

First, though, Gov. Asa Hutchinson stepped to the microphone in Little Rock on a day with 455 new cases reported that probably isn’t that alarming when you go inside the numbers.

Increased testing leads to positive results. That’s why I don’t pay much attention to the test results. The only numbers I go to are deaths and hospitalizations.

Of the 455 new positive results announced, 226 were not a data dump from some previous tests and, as it was reported, the result of increased testing. That number is probably going to continue going up, by the way.

“Life goes on,” Hutchinson said in his daily press briefing. “We’ve been measured about lifting restrictions gradually so we can measure where we are.”

While the state was one of the few to not have any required sheltering rules, don’t expect the state to suddenly start locking things down.

“My belief is we’re not going to go back to it and further shut down our economy,” Hutchinson said. “We’re going to have to learn to manage this economy and stop the spread of the virus. You’ve got to do those two things simultaneously.”

As for colleges and universities, it appears the governor and his people are going to figure out a way to have them back.

“I want them to open up and have as normal of a class structure as possible,” Hutchinson said. “It will be a statewide approach.”

Arkansas’ guidelines for sports teams to resume practice contain a lot of staying away from each other but balls will be allowed, which was a big concern from coaches.

The biggest part of the guidelines are that equipment can be used and team practices for football, basketball and “contact” sports is permitted with distancing requirements and disinfecting the equipment.

Competition will be allowed starting June 1 for baseball, softball, gymnastics, track and swimming.

They did discourage people over the age of 65 from participating.

Everybody will be asked how they’re feeling and if they’ve been around anybody that’s been sick. There will be temperature checks which are probably a waste of time as that can be defeated by anyone taking two or three aspirin.