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COVID-19 has disrupted sports in a way not seen since World War II. The virus has shut down sports globally. Both amateur and professional leagues have canceled full season and championship tournaments.
The NCAA has canceled all spring sporting events. They started by canceling all post-season play, leaving conference play still open if institutions decided that students could come back and the semester would continue.
On March 12, all major conferences in the NCAA, including the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, AAC, and SEC, all canceled basketball tournament play. Along with all the conferences coming out with their statements about canceling their tournaments, the NCAA followed by announcing that March Madness, one of the biggest revenue making events every year, would also be shut down.
A Big Ten press conference announced the cancellation of all sporting events for the foreseeable future.
From their website: “The main priority of the Big Ten Conference continues to be the health, safety and wellness of our student athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all developing and relevant information of the COVID-19 virus.”
Mike Aresco, AAC commissioner, said, “There was no way we could defend playing this. We wanted to be proactive in protecting our student athletes.”
Professional leagues that have been affected by COVID-19 include NASCAR, PGA (golf), MLS (soccer), NHL (hockey), MLB (baseball), and NBA (basketball).
NASCAR announced that all races before May 3 are postponed. The league has not yet come out with makeup dates for the races canceled, but they are hopeful that the season will resume May 9 at Martinsville.
The PGA tour canceled the final three rounds of The Players Championship. They have also canceled their April 2-5 tournament, the Valero Texas Open. The Masters was postponed with no makeup date in place yet. The Masters was supposed to kick off on April 9. Along with the Masters, the PGA Championship has been postponed from its original date of May 11-17.
MLS has been put on hold. They said that they are suspending games for a minimum of eight weeks. The men’s and women’s youth national training camps have also shut down.
The NHL and MLB are both on the same track with all the other leagues. NHL suspended their season and informed their players that the earliest potential reopening wouldn’t be until late April. MLB delayed the start of their regular season and canceled spring training in Florida. The league knows that the season could be suspended for months, but their goal is to get in as many games as they can once the season officially begins.
The most affected league by the COVID-19 outbreak is the NBA. Along with their season being suspended, seven players have tested positive for the virus The first NBA player to test positive was Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz. Once Gobert tested positive, the virus then spread to six more players, including Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell and Christian Wood.
In a public statement, Durant said, “Everyone be careful, take care of yourself and quarantine…We’re going to get through this.”
The importance of slowing down the spreading is not to kill the virus, but to help save the lives of those who are affected. This virus is so much bigger than sports, but for one of the biggest revenue industries in America to be shut down, it shows the seriousness of this pandemic.