Matthew Wilson
When sports return post-coronavirus pandemic, they’ll probably be a little different than people remember. In an effort to keep fans and athletes safe, leagues are creating new guidelines and rules to promote social distancing. Past staples like high-fives and locker room celebrations may be gone — at least for now.

Here are 12 things you may not see in sports after the coronavirus pandemic.

For many sports, high-fives will become a thing of the past.
According to CBS, high-fives and fist bumps have been banned in Major League Baseball, if and when the season returns in July as planned.

Likewise, as far back as March, players in the NBA were discouraged against high-fiving, according to Reuters. According to ESPN, high-fives may be discontinued in the world of sports altogether, replaced with a more socially distant equivalent.

So will handshakes between teammates and opponents.
In a post-coronavirus world, players may have to find a new way to show their sportsmanship. According to ESPN, the Barclays Premier League stopped their pre-soccer match ritual of the Fair Play Handshake back in March.

The MLB also discouraged players from shaking hands or any hand-to-hand contact in general, according to CBS Sports. Sports Illustrated also concurred that the handshake may be going away for the foreseeable future.

In the MLB, spitting in all forms will be banned.
According to CBS, if baseball returns in July as planned, there will be a few changes designed to stop the spread of COVID-19. Spitting in all forms will be discouraged, and players will be prohibited from eating sunflower seeds or chewing smokeless tobacco while in the park, which both require spitting. However, chewing gum will be allowed, according to the new regulations.

Players can’t lick their fingers, either.
Players often lick their fingers to get a better grip on the ball. According to CBS, while the action is banned, pitchers can carry a “wet rag” in their pocket to moisten their fingers.

Celebrations and rousing halftime speeches in the locker room won’t be allowed in the NFL.
According to guidelines released by the NFL, team locker rooms must be reconfigured to ensure 6 feet of distance between players. This makes after-game celebrations and a coach’s halftime speech more difficult, if not impossible, to pull off.

Team workouts will be limited.
According to the same regulations, strength and conditioning exercises will be limited to no more than 15 people. Give that there are around 50 players on a team, athletic training staff will have to stagger the training schedule.

The NFL is still trying to figure out how to make the huddle more socially distant.
According to ESPN, Ravens coach John Harbaugh was frustrated with the NFL’s social distancing guidelines. He questioned the future of players huddling together on the field.

“I’m pretty sure the huddle is not going to be six-feet spaced,” Harbaugh told 105.7 The Fan. “Are guys going to shower one at a time all day? Are guys going to lift weights one at a time all day? These are things the league and the [players’ association] needs to get a handle on … so we can operate in a 13-hour day in [the] training camp that they’re giving us and get our work done.”

Shaking hands is considered good form. Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

In Pro Football Talk, sports writer Charean Williams suggested a future where the huddle was replaced by speakers in all the players’ helmets, so the coach is able to convey plays directly into their ears. 

Golfers will no longer remove their golf balls from holes on the green.
According to regulations by the United States Golf Association, there have been procedures put in place so golfers no longer need to reach into the hole to remove the golf ball. Some of these measures include setting the hole-liner an inch or two above the surface or placing objects in the hole or around the flag stick to stop the ball from falling to the bottom.

Caddies won’t be handling a golfer’s clubs and equipment.
According to Golf Week, both golfers and caddies will be encouraged to social distance. Golfers will be encouraged to remove golf cubs from their bag themselves.

Tennis players are strongly discouraged from picking up tennis balls with their hands.
According to the United States Tennis Association, players should avoid picking up stray tennis balls with their hands, and they should instead use their feet or racket to pick up tennis balls and serve them.

Ring announcers and ring girls won’t be allowed in the boxing ring.
Per the BBC, no ring announcers, ring girls, or TV cameras will be allowed in the boxing ring as per the British Boxing Board of Control regulations.

According to Yahoo Sports, only fighters, trainers, and the referee were allowed in the ring when Top Rank Boxing returned to Las Vegas for its first match.

In general, crowded sports events may be a thing of the past.

No crowd at a basketball game
Spectator seating is empty prior to the Detroit Red Wings playing against the Washington Capitals. Patrick Smith/Getty Images

According to the New York Times, sporting events will be lacking one of their most defining features for the near future: the fans. Several sports in other countries like Australian rugby and South Korean baseball have already returned, playing at crowd-less venues. For WrestleMania 36, fans were forced to watch from their couches. To deal with the quietness of playing in a crowd-less venue, some sports have turned to producing artificial cheers and fake crowd noises for the spectators at home.

The NBA made headlines back in March for hosting crowd-less games, before the league postponed the season after several players tested positive for the virus. In a memo to players, the NBA said to prepare for games without a crowd or media presence.

In general, crowded sports events may be a thing of the past. 

No crowd at a basketball game
According to the New York Times, sporting events will be lacking one of their most defining features for the near future: the fans. Several sports in other countries like Australian rugby and South Korean baseball have already returned, playing at crowd-less venues. For WrestleMania 36, fans were forced to watch from their couches. To deal with the quietness of playing in a crowd-less venue, some sports have turned to producing artificial cheers and fake crowd noises for the spectators at home.

The NBA made headlines back in March for hosting crowd-less games, before the league postponed the season after several players tested positive for the virus. In a memo to players, the NBA said to prepare for games without a crowd or media presence. – Insider