Time Out: How Coronavirus Has Halted All Sports

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Replay, after replay, after replay. That’s the only way fans of various teams are going to watch their favorite sports. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sports worldwide have had seasons cut short or paused to mitigate the spread among players, fans and other workers who aid in putting these events together. Leagues and teams are now focusing their efforts on relief funds and aid as the world deals with the outbreak.

Collegiate Level

The National Collegiate Athletic Association, best known as the NCAA, announced the cancellation of the remaining winter and upcoming spring events. These abrupt endings to years of preparation left athletes devastated, with many of them sharing their sentiments on social media. Much of the public was also concerned for the fan favorite event: March Madness. On Selection Sunday, instead of announcing what teams would be entering, the cancellation of the tournament was announced.

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Another concern was for the senior student athletes as they anticipated to partake/finish their final season of eligibility. The NCAA Division I Council Committee has recommended spring sport athletes be awarded with eligibility relief. Discussions are being held to finalize what that would mean for athletes as they work through issues such as rules about scholarship limitations. “Details of eligibility relief will be finalized at a later time,” the NCAA declared in their statement.

Many football fans have experienced the impact of the outbreak as well, as numerous programs are cancelling their spring games, such as the Blue-White game here at Penn State, to ensure the safety of their players as they follow NCAA regulations.

National Basketball League (NBA)

Following positive coronavirus tests for Utah Jazz players, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, the NBA announced the suspension of its season on March 11.

More players were then diagnosed with COVID-19 after testing positive, including: Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets, various players from the Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers.

The suspension of the season not only impacts the league but many arena workers, as they relied on the income that putting these events together provided them with. Recognizing the direct impact it would have on these workers, Cleveland Cavaliers player Kevin Love got the ball rolling by donating money to aid the arena workers. Soon after, various NBA players began donating money including Detroit Pistons’ Blake Griffin and New Orleans’ Zion Williamson pledging to cover the salaries for all arena staff for 30 days. Teams have also come together to aid in relief funding including the Golden State Warriors, the Dallas Mavericks and the Atlanta Hawks.

National Hockey League (NHL)

Following the news of various NBA players testing positive, the NHL decided to pause the 2019-20 season. This was partially due to the leagues sharing the same arenas, where both players and fans use the same facilities. As of right now, only one NHL player has tested positive for the coronavirus.

NHL has stated they hope to continue their season since many teams have prepared for another chance at the Stanley Cup.

During this time, players and teams are urging fans to continue practicing precautionary measures. Various players from these teams are also helping their respective communities by providing them with foundations and charities aiding in the relief. Many teams have issued statements and included messages from players including Washington Capitals’ Tom Wilson and Arizona Coyotes’ Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Major League Baseball (MLB)

With the uncertainty of when the COVID-19 outbreak will end, the MLB has stated the delay of the 2020 season and suspension of training. Fans, as of now, are expecting to see the season start mid-May in the best-case scenario.

Like other leagues, teams across the MLB have pledged to cover the wages of ballpark employees, as they are also impacted due to the delay and suspension. MLB has also stated they will pay minor league players until April and plan to continue their compensation.

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Soccer

Soccer federations worldwide have been impacted by the pandemic and have called for numerous suspensions, cancellations and postponements.

In the United States, Major League Soccer (MLS), has decided to delay its season to May. Across the pond, the Premier League has stated they will not start their next season until the current season is finished, although they hope to resume and finish within a reasonable time beginning at the end of April.

The UEFA has decided to suspend both the Champions League and Europa League and hopes to end the season no later than June 30 of this year. All CONCACAF games have been suspended and all friendlies have been cancelled.

Euro 2020 and Copa America have been delayed until 2021 and leagues are in the process of finalizing an agreement.

Players across the world, such as footballer Lionel Messi, have partaken in challenges across social media urging fans to stay at home and practice social distancing.

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National Football League (NFL)

NFL has stated it doesn’t plan on delaying the start of its season, nor does it plan on postponing the draft. The only change being made to the draft is that public-held events will not be taking place, unlike most years.

Teams have suspended practice, and new rules and regulations are being implemented throughout the league.

As of right now, New Orleans head coach, Sean Payton, is the first to test positive for coronavirus. Sharing his story with ESPN, Payton has also taken to Twitter to update fans on his condition.

XFL

The XFL, an American football league, is one of the latest leagues to suspend their 2020 season, but they are allowing players to sign with other teams and leagues during this time. Furthermore, all players will be paid for the remainder of the season and postseason. There is no word yet on what is going to happen for the post-season playoffs.

While none of the players have tested positive, a stadium employee has.

Notable Mentions
  • NASCAR is postponing for two weeks
  • Boxing fights have been cancelled until April and title defense matches have been postponed by several months
  • Professional Golfer’s Association has cancelled three events and postponed the PGA Championship
  • UFC has postponed its three next events
  • Kentucky Derby is going to be held on Sept. 5
  • French Open has been postponed
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