Americans are begging for the country to return to its normalcy after a bout with coronavirus, an infectious respiratory disease that has paralyzed more than 180 countries worldwide. No generation alive today has ever seen anything like the pandemic that has been with us since January. People who like to recapitulate the top news of the year come December can cast their ballots now.

Americans love their sports, no matter where it fits in the sports calendar. Even after the pandemic surrenders to the heroic efforts of the medical profession and the thousands of scientists, doctors, nurses, technicians, first responders, clerks, janitors and housekeepers who comprise the profession, countrymen won’t know when and where — or if — their favorite sports team or the conference they are affiliated with will still be doing business like the pinnacles they established.

Like the five major football conferences who have petitioned the NCAA to relax some requirements to compete in Division I for four years, including the maximum numbers of sports a school must sponsor. The five conferences include the American Athletic Conference, Mountain West, Mid-American, Sun Belt and Conference USA. In a letter to NCAA President Mark Emmert, the five conference commissioners asked for temporary relief from financial aid requirements, along with average football attendance. The request was made on behalf of all 350 Division I schools.

Furthermore, the commissioners asked that a moratorium be placed on schools moving into Division I for the length of the waiver, according to the Associated Press.

The letter surfaced the same day the University of Cincinnati in the AAC announced it was dropping its men’s soccer program to cut costs. Earlier this month, Old Dominion of C-USA cut its wrestling program. NCAA rules acquire Division I schools to sponsor at least 16 varsity sports.

The commissioners also requested lifting rules that required schools to offer a minimum of 200 athletic grants-in aid per year or spend at least $4 million in grants-in aid on athletes, and provide 90% of the permissible maximum grants-in aid in football over a rolling two-year period; play minimum numbers of total games and home games in sports such as baseball, football and basketball and minimum percentage of games against Division I or FBS competition in various sports. There were other requests contained in the letter.

The NCAA and its schools have already taken a huge financial hit with the cancellation of the men’s basketball tournament in March. That cost schools a total of $375 million in NCAA distributions. More harsh times appear to be on the horizon, especially for schools outside the Power Five conferences that can’t fall back on million-dollar television rights deals focused on football. The Big Ten Conference, which includes the University of Wisconsin, Michigan and Michigan State, is one of the Power Five conferences.

According to the AP, the five conference commissioners made their requests to the NCAA with no intention of eliminating sports programs. The requests were about providing schools with the ability to find flexible and creative solutions.

We suspect oodles of similar requests will be forthcoming from high school and college ranks across the country as they prepare for the coronavirus aftershock entering the 2020-2021 school seasons. Sports fans may not like what is coming down the road, but it is something we predict will happen.

We need to brace for the major changes in our lifestyles. Together, Americans will find a way.