Coronavirus: How Each Sport Is Affected
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the world by storm, and the United States in particular over the last few weeks.
On Wednesday, March 11th, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert felt ill prior to a game against Oklahoma City which then led to the game being canceled due to Gobert ultimately testing positive for the coronavirus.
As a result, the sports world took the necessary steps to put events at all levels (high school to professional) on hold for the foreseeable future.
Here’s an update for each professional sport and how they’ve been impacted by COVID-19:
As mentioned above, Gobert was the first to test positive for the coronavirus. However, no longer than 24 hours later, his Utah Jazz teammate Donovan Mitchell also tested positive.
Those players, along with fellow Jazz teammates, were told to self-isolate for two weeks. NBA commissioner Adam Silver wasted no time suspending the season until further notice.
In an attempt to provide an update on scheduling, the NBA announced the possibility of a mid-to-late June league return as the best-case scenario.
Nearly a week later, four players of the Brooklyn Nets tested positive for the coronavirus including former MVP Kevin Durant. The three players remained unnamed, but Durant was announced to be asymptomatic.
Each year, sports fans across the country look forward to March Madness, yet what’s happening isn’t the March Madness we all expected.
With the NCAA Tournament only a weekend away, March Madness was canceled due to precautions over the coronavirus.
Not only were the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments completely cancelled, but all remaining spring and winter championships as well. Brackets for the 2020 NCAA tournament will not be released.
With regards to the football season, the ACC, SEC and Big Ten are among conferences who have canceled both pro days for potential NFL prospects and annual spring games to prepare for the upcoming season.
Following the NBA cancelation, Major League Baseball announced it was cancelling the remainder of spring training, and would delay the start of the 2020 regular season by at least two weeks.
The federal government then announced restrictions of events with more than 50 people for the next eight weeks. As a result, the MLB pushed back opening day until mid-May at the earliest.
The NHL followed in the footsteps of the NBA and MLB with the suspension of play last Thursday. Unlike the NBA or MLB, there is no projected return date for the NHL, but there are nearly three and a half weeks remaining in the regular season and organisers seem content with finishing in the near future.
There is one NHL player from the Ottawa Senators who has tested positive for the coronavirus. The player is unnamed and, at the time of writing, is the only known case in the NHL.
With the regular season still months away, the NFL announced there are “no plans to move the start of the league year”. As a result, NFL Free Agency has begun on time and offseason moves are being made - headlined by the decision of six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady to leave the New England Patriots for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The biggest hiccup is in regards to the NFL Draft. The NFL is still set to hold the 2020 NFL Draft in April, but it will no longer be open to the public and held in Las Vegas.
After a 19-year hiatus, the XFL was midway through the 10-week season before it was cut short, and the remainder of the season was cancelled.
The only known coronavirus case linked to the XFL was a stadium employee for the Seattle Dragons.
UFC president Dana White announced that the next three events have been postponed. The next scheduled event is a pay-per-view scheduled for April 18th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Although there have been an abundance of cases in New York, the UFC still has plans to promote the event and will reschedule if need be.
Euro 2020 and the Copa America 2020 have both been postponed until 2021 after agreements from both governing bodies.
UEFA suspended the Champions League and Europa League, but it is hoped all domestic competitions can be completed. The plan is for the Europa League final to take place on June 24th, and the Champions League final to take place three days later.