If you're still trying to figure out what changes will come with the Brexit, you're not alone. In fact, Google search trends suggest Brits themselves weren't sure what they were voting on when they chose to exit the European Union. Searches of "What is the EU?" surged in Britain after 10 p.m. Thursday -- that is, after the polling stations had closed.
Mark that down as a black eye on the face of democracy.
— GoogleTrends (@GoogleTrends) June 24, 2016
Nevertheless, the Brexit is coming. The question of, "What happens now?" is a thread that could seemingly be pulled to infinity. But if you think this massive political change is occurring in isolation, guess again. Britain's economy is already tanking, and by the time this process is through, the change is going to be vast and significant.
And the sports world will not be spared. There are a handful of ways the Brexit might render unwanted changes to a number of sports, starting with one of the most popular leagues in the world.
1. English Premier League's talent pool is on shaky ground.
A big piece of the "Brexit" push is that it would give England the chance to more tightly control its borders. Currently, the European Union mandates open borders for all of its members. Some Brits have grown frustrated and contend that the inflow of immigrants -- including some traveling across Europe from the Middle East -- are coming in faster than the country can handle.
The Brexit will surely lead to tighter immigration rules, but it will come at a potential cost to the English Premier League. According to the BBC, up to 400 current EPL players could potentially lose their right to play in the league. Those players, coming from foreign countries, would all need work permits to play in England.
That may sound like fear-mongering, but it's problematic enough that the Premier League's president, Richard Scudamore, had lobbied for Britain to stay in the EU in the past. The Premier League has taken a neutral position on the matter, and has said through a spokesperson that it isn't concerned about the Brexit affecting its on-field product, but the Brexit could throw the EPL into uncertainty and possible chaos.
One important note: Those changes won't come overnight. It might take two years before new immigration policies come into place. But when the time comes, it could lead to massive roster shakeups for virtually every EPL team.
2. More English players might find their way onto EPL rosters.
About 30 percent of the English Premier League is comprised of soccer players from Britain. That's a shame, according to some supporters of the league, as they would prefer it showcase more of the local talent population.
The Brexit might force such a reality onto the league, for better or for worse. If Britain and Europe can't agree to terms on ways to alleviate transfer fees and provide work visas to players on a regular basis, the league might be forced to seek out local players where such hurdles aren't a problem.
Again, this is less likely to affect the top European talent that wants to come play in the EPL -- the league will do the work required to import those stars. But for role players, the extra headache of dealing with new borders and regulations might not be worth the hassle.
3. Britain could lose funding for athlete development programs.
Young talent in Britain could be affected by the Brexit, based on the potential sports program funds the country may lose. In Europe, a program called Erasmus+ provides millions of dollars to EU member nations to support their development of athletes at the grassroots level.
The program provides €265 million over a seven-year period, and Britain receives roughly €1.3 million every year. Exiting the EU may require forfeiting these funds in the future. It isn't a huge amount, but if you compound this loss with projected economic struggles for the country, it could be one of several ways in which England's young athletes see fewer developmental opportunities in the coming years.
4. The Ryder Cup team will not be affected.
Good news for golf fans: The implications for the Ryder Cup appear to be minimal. The Ryder Cup will continue to be played under the EU flag, and English golfers will still be invited to participate on the team. Unless players have an objection to representing a flag that doesn't govern them, the tournament itself will go on unchanged.
A more pressing threat is faced by the European Tour, which is based in Wentworth, Surrey. It's unclear what the European Tour will do, but it may be forced to move its headquarters to an EU country, unless a deal can be brokered to keep the tour in England.
A spokesman for the European tour suggested the implications would be minimal. "In terms of tournaments appearing on The European Tour International Schedule, including those in the United Kingdom, we do not believe that the result will have any impact," said the spokesman in a statement, while noting that England remains a part of Europe geographically, even if it separates itself politically.
5. International athletes could see fewer professional opportunities.
Soccer isn't the only sport that might see its talent base changed by the Brexit. Under a couple international agreements between the European Union and other countries, athletes coming from Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Group of States have the same rights, in terms of job opportunities and employment, as native European athletes. This is a critical agreement for cricket and rugby players -- some cricket and rugby players from other countries have even represented England in international competitions, according to -- ESPN.
With the Brexit, though, these deals are getting spiked. Athletes won't have the same opportunities in Britain, which could create a similar situation EPL soccer players face: To maintain their jobs and opportunities in England, they'll have to renegotiate these international deals. Given the anti-immigrant sentiments that pushed the Brexit to victory, that may not be an easy sell.
International soccer stars are one thing. Anonymous cricket players? They might get the short end of the stick.
6. Everything is subject to change.
If there's one common thread uniting all experts, it's this: Nobody knows exactly how this will play out. Rules could be amended, unforeseen variables could come into play. The implications of the Brexit aren't very well understood even on a macro level, which makes it very difficult to say where and how this political move will impact the sports world.
But one thing is clear: Change will be coming. Even if the EPL, for example, manages to broker a rules deal that makes it easier to bring in top European talent, it's likely that new changes would affect less prominent athletes. In other cases, many possible changes, and the implications flowing forth, will be decided by negotiations between governing sports bodies and representatives from both the United Kingdom and Europe.
How those conversations might go is anyone's guess. For everyone involved, these are uncharted waters.