Sports events across the globe continue to feel the impact of the coronavirus. The disruption has extended to the local sports scene as well.
Here are the latest headlines on Saturday.
CenturyLink Field event center to become field hospital
According to the Seattle Times, CenturyLink Field, home of the Seahawks, will turn its event center into a field hospital for coronavirus patients.
The Army National Guard has sent 300 soldiers to the event center, which will hold 148 beds.
Cameraman in coma due to coronavirus
Yahoo Sports is reporting that a man who worked a Jazz-Pistons game days before the NBA shut down is in a medically induced coma while trying to recover from coronavirus.
The cameraman, who has not been publicly identified, was working in the Jazz locker room after a March 7 game.
On March 11, the Jazz’s Rudy Gobert was the first NBA player to be diagnosed with coronavirus. His positive diagnosis prompted the NBA to shut down indefinitely, leading the way for the rest of North America’s pro leagues to follow suit.
Fanatics pivots to PPE production
From the New York Times: Fanatics, the company that manufactures the Nike uniforms for Major League Baseball, has temporarily converted its domestic factory in Easton, Pa., to produce desperately needed protective masks and gowns for medical professionals who are fighting the pandemic in the United States.
The masks are made from the same bolts of polyester mesh fabric used to make big-league uniforms, and the first prototypes bear the distinctive pinstripes of the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies.
"We’ve got tremendous amounts of fabric, which is exactly what the players wear,” said Michael Rubin, the founder and executive chairman of Fanatics. "We’re just taking it and making the masks and gowns that can be used by the people who are working to save lives every day.”
Rubin said prototypes of the new masks made with the material for baseball uniforms were developed last week, with help from experts from the St. Luke’s hospital system in Pennsylvania. The masks will go there and to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency first.
We’re proud to partner with @MLB to support emergency personnel who are fighting against COVID-19 and face a need for masks and hospital gowns. We're utilizing our manufacturing plant in Easton, PA to make masks and gowns out of the same jersey fabric that the players wear pic.twitter.com/5jEg1B2iUa— Fanatics (@Fanatics) March 26, 2020
(Thread):— Michael Rubin (@MichaelGRubin) March 26, 2020
Woke up in the middle of the night last week with idea of converting our @Fanatics factory in PA that makes official @MLB jerseys into a facility that makes much needed masks and gowns and then donating them to help fight this horrendous virus. pic.twitter.com/r6FAxUdlgH
Fast forward to today – @Fanatics and @MLB have halted production of all MLB jerseys and instead using that same fabric we make the jerseys with to make masks and gowns!! We have approx 100 associates working (extra distanced and in a very clean and safe environment of course) pic.twitter.com/E8ewI0REfn— Michael Rubin (@MichaelGRubin) March 26, 2020
NBA to reduce pay of top executives
ESPN is reporting that the salaries of around 100 top NBA executives around the world will be reduced by 20 percent as the league seeks to offset the economic impact of the shutdown of the 2019-20 season.
From ESPN: “Many of the executives and officials who are impacted work in the league’s New York headquarters, including commissioner Adam Silver and deputy commissioner Mark Tatum, sources said.”
No March Madness means less money for NCAA schools
Canceling the NCAA basketball tournament because of the coronavirus pandemic will cost the institution roughly $375 million that would have been distributed to 350 schools across the nation, the Associated Press reported Thursday.
In all, the NCAA will distribute $225 million to its Division I member schools in June, nearly two-thirds less than the $600 million scheduled to be handed out in installments from April to June..
Indy 500 postponed
From the AP: The Indianapolis 500 was postponed Thursday until August because of the coronavirus pandemic and won’t run on Memorial Day weekend for the first time since 1946.
The race will instead be held Aug. 23, three months later than its May 24 scheduled date.
“The month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is my favorite time of year, and like our fans, I am disappointed that we have had to reschedule the Indianapolis 500,” said Roger Penske, the motorsports titan who finalized his purchase of IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier this year.
“However, the health and safety of our event participants and spectators is our top priority, and we believe that postponing the event is the responsible decision with the conditions and restrictions we are facing," he said. "We will continue to focus on ways we can enhance the customer experience in the months ahead, and I’m confident we will welcome fans with a transformed facility and a global spectacle when we run the world’s greatest race.”
The Indianapolis 500 began in 1911 but did not run in 1917, 1918 and from 1941-45 because of World Wars I and II. Tony Hulman bought the neglected speedway after the second war and the Indy 500 returned on Memorial Day weekend in 1946.
WNBA to hold virtual draft
The WNBA will hold its draft on April 17, as scheduled, but will do so virtually without players or media, the league announced Thursday.
The picks will be announced live on ESPN2 and on the ESPN App.
The WNBA season is scheduled to tip off on May 15, with training camp beginning April 26. The league said in its release that it is “conducting ongoing scenario planning” to account for the coronavirus outbreak but hasn’t announced any plans to postpone games.
NFL orders teams to close facilities
From the AP:
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has instructed the 32 teams to close their facilities to all but a select few employees by 6 p.m. Wednesday.
In a memo to the teams, Goodell said the restrictions meant as a safeguard against the new coronavirus will be in force until at least April 8. Then the league will re-evaluate, using advice from medical experts and health authorities. The few exceptions include trainers and doctors treating players, security and technology personnel.
The NFL has gotten some pushback for not postponing the draft scheduled for April 23-25 while the rest of the sports world is largely shut down. The league is developing a new format because it has scrapped the public events set for Las Vegas.
Major League Soccer training moratorium continues through April 3
Major League Soccer has extended the team training moratorium through, and including, Friday, April 3. MLS training facilities remain closed to all players and staff with the exception of players requiring medical treatment or rehabilitation, under the direction of the team medical staff, that cannot be performed from the safety of their residence.
Roger Federer, wife donate 1 million Swiss francs
From the AP:
Roger Federer and his wife Mirka say they have donated 1 million Swiss francs ($1.02 million) “for the most vulnerable families” in Switzerland.
Federer writes on his social media accounts that “these are challenging times for everyone and nobody should be left behind.”
The announcement was the first post on his Twitter and Instagram accounts in more than three weeks.
Federer underwent surgery on his right knee five weeks ago and hoped to return for grass-court tournaments in June. The men’s tennis tour has since shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Federer says he and wife hope “others might join in supporting more families in need.”
Devils, 76ers backtrack on cutting salaries
From the AP: The New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers have done an about-face on cutting salaries for employees making more than $100,000. A day after announcing the temporary 20% pay cuts because of the economics effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the teams’ co-owners rescinded them.
Co-owner Josh Harris says after listening to his staff and players, it’s clear that the pay cuts was the wrong decision.
“This is an extraordinary time in our world — unlike any most of us have ever lived through before — and ordinary business decisions are not enough to meet the moment. To our staff and fans, I apologize for getting this wrong.”
The teams did not say whether they plan to maintain a four-day work week, which was part of the cuts. Employees benefits were never changed and the teams plan on keeping their 1,500 hourly workers paid throughout the regular season. The NHL’s Devils and the NBA’s Sixers are owned by Harris and David Blitzer, who are the founders of Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment.
Canadiens lay off 60 percent of staff
From the AP: The Montreal Canadiens are temporarily laying off 60% of employees while the National Hockey League season is suspended.
Groupe CH, which owns hockey's most storied club, says the layoffs go into effect March 30. Groupe CH also is establishing a $6 million assistance fund that will enhance employment insurance to make sure employees receive 80% of their salary for the following eight weeks and be available for loans to employees.
Owner Geoff Molson says: “We are working extremely hard to limit the impact this situation will have on our employees.”
Japanese PM, IOC president agree to postpone Games
Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and IOC president Thomas Bach agreed Tuesday to postpone the 2020 Olympic Games, set to begin in Tokyo on July 24.
US wants Olympics canceled
From AP: The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee is urging the Summer Olympics in Tokyo be postponed, adding its large and influential voice to a growing chorus of athletes and sports federations objecting to having the games during the coronavirus pandemic.
The International Olympic Committee said Sunday it would make a decision on postponing or altering the games within four weeks.
But on Monday, veteran IOC member Dick Pound told USA Today that the Games would be canceled, which may have sped up the timeline.
The Tokyo Olympic torch relay was set to start Thursday as in northeastern Fukushima prefecture but with no torch, no torchbearers and no public because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Portuguese Olympic Committee wants games postponed
From the AP: The president of the Portuguese Olympic Committee says he hopes the Tokyo Games are postponed.
José Manuel Constantino says “the most reasonable thing is for the IOC, the Tokyo organizing committee, the Tokyo government and the Japanese authorities to find a consensual solution to allow the Tokyo Games to take place on another date.”
Constantino was speaking to Rádio Observador.
He says “I hope the games are postponed.”
Constantino’s comments come a day after the IOC said it was considering a postponement and would make a final decision within four weeks.
Constantino says Portugal’s Olympic team is not prepared at the moment, adding “some athletes found alternative ways to prepare themselves, but others don’t have the conditions to do so.”
Norway doesn’t want its athletes at Olympics
From the AP: The president of the Norwegian Olympic Committee is recommending that athletes from the country are not sent to the Tokyo Games if they take place as scheduled.
Berit Kjøll says “it will not be possible to carry out a Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in July as planned” because of the growing coronavirus outbreak.
Kjøll says she respects the IOC’s request to “come up with a well thought-out and good plan for when the games can be completed.”
The Norwegian federation previously had said the Tokyo Olympics should only to take place once the coronavirus outbreak “is under firm control” worldwide.
The Canadian Olympic Committee has said it will not be sending athletes to the Olympics unless the games are postponed by a year. Australia says it was advising its athletes to prepare for an Olympics in 2021.
Two countries pull out of Tokyo Olympics
Australia has told its athletes to prepare for the Olympics to be held in 2021.
Canada has decided it won’t send its athletes to Tokyo if the games are held.
From the AP:
The Canadian Olympic Committee says it won’t send athletes to the Tokyo Games unless they’re postponed for a year, becoming the first country to threaten such a move in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
The committee sent out a statement Sunday evening saying it was willing to help the International Olympic Committee search for alternatives, but that it was not safe for athletes, “their families and the broader Canadian community for athletes to continue training for these Games.”
“In fact, it runs counter to the public health advice which we urge all Canadians to follow.”
MLS extends training moratorium
Major League Soccer has extended the team training moratorium through, and including, Friday, March 27. During this time, MLS players are expected to remain in each club’s respective market and have been advised to exercise safe social distancing measures.
At this time, team training facilities may only be accessed for physical therapy purposes at the direction of club medical staff to ensure adherence to safety protocols.
Big3 set to return?
According to Yahoo Sports, The Big3 is hoping to launch a quarantined, reality show-style three-on-three tournament next month to try and fill the sports void in the aftermath of the coronavirus sports hiatus.
The founders of the league — Ice Cube and entertainment exec Jeff Kwatinetz — have been having ongoing conversations with multiple TV networks since late last week to broadcast the tournament.
Per reports, it would feature 16 to 22 players who have tested negative for the coronavirus, all of whom would be quarantined in Los Angeles.
Sean Payton diagnosed with coronavirus
ESPN is reporting that Sean Payton has tested positive for coronavirus.
Adam Schefter wrote on Twitter Thursday that Payton made public his diagnosis “because he wants all people to heed the warning of government officials, stay inside, and behave responsibly.”
James Joyce Ramble canceled
The 37th edition of the 10K in Dedham, scheduled for April 26, has been canceled. Organizers are looking to bring the race back on April 25, 2021.
Wrestlemania to be be held over two nights on closed sets
Wrestlemania will be held as a two-night event streaming on Saturday, April 4 and Sunday, April 5. It has been moved from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay to the WWE’s training facility in Orlando, and will include multiple locations over two nights. All locations will be closed sets with only essential personnel.
It’s official! I’m hosting @WrestleMania this year...and it’s gonna be too big for just one night. For the 1st time, #WrestleMania will be a 🚨2-NIGHT🚨event: Saturday, April 4 AND Sunday, April 5 on @WWENetwork! Tell you more this Friday night on #SmackDown at 8 ET on @FOXTV.— Rob Gronkowski (@RobGronkowski) March 18, 2020
Laver Cup plans complicated
The Laver Cup, a tennis tournament scheduled take place in Boston in late September and feature stars like Roger Federer, is in flux due to a coronavirus-related postponement.
The French Tennis Federation announced Tuesday that it was pushing the French Open to September, which would overlap with the Laver Cup.
“This announcement came as a surprise to us and our partners - Tennis Australia, the USTA and the ATP. It raises many questions and we are assessing the situation," organizers said in a statement. “At this time, we want our fans, sponsors, broadcasters, staff, volunteers, players and the great city of Boston to know that we intend to hold Laver Cup 2020 as currently scheduled.”
Organizers said the Laver Cup had already sold out. It is scheduled to be held at TD Garden.
Four Nets test positive
ESPN is reporting that four unnamed players for the Nets have tested positive for coronavirus, including Kevin Durant.
The Nets played the Celtics on March 3.
Four Nets have tested positive for the coronavirus, team says.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 17, 2020
French Open postponed until Sept. 20
The second leg of tennis’s grand slam, originally scheduled for May 24 through June 7, will be now be played Sept. 20 through Oct. 4.
Matchroom Boxing postpones all events in March and April
The list of events postponed include David Avanesyan vs. Josh Kelly at The O2 in London on March 28, Lewis Ritson vs. Miguel Vazquez at the Utilita Arena Newcastle on April 4 and Terri Harper vs. Natasha Jonas at the Doncaster Dome on April 24.
Kentucky Derby postponed to Sept. 5
The first leg of horse racing’s Triple crown, originally scheduled for May 2, will be moved to Labor Day weekend.
UFC, WWE make changes
The UFC has postponed its next three scheduled events through April 11, while the WWE has decided to hold Wrestlemania on a closed set. Click here for more details.
MLB pushes opening day
Opening Day, previously pushed back to April 9, will now be pushed two months in accordance with CDC recommendations restricting events of 50 or more.
In a release issued Monday, MLB said that its clubs “remain committed to playing as many games as possible when the season begins.”
WTA suspends tennis tour until May 2
The Women’s Tennis Association is suspending play until at least May 2, eradicating much of the run up for players to prepare for the French Open.
Penn Relays canceled
From the AP:
The Penn Relays, one of the oldest and largest track meets in the nation, has been canceled in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Penn Relays were scheduled for April 23-25 and had been held uninterrupted since 1895. The event celebrated its 125th consecutive running last year. The Philadelphia-based University of Pennsylvania says it will attempt to host a substitute track meet at a later date in late May or early June. The new event wouldn't meet the standard Penn Relays format. The three-day event would shorten into a one-day event for youth, high school and open runners.
The Penn Relays has adapted to worldwide conditions in the past. The meet was altered in 1917 and 1918 when several colleges, including most Ivy League institutions, curtailed their track programs during World War I. During World War II, travel restrictions reduced participation and spectator attendance while gas rationing was in effect in 1943 and 1944.
NFL cancels public draft plans
Just in from the NFL: In consideration of current information related to COVID-19 and guidance from medical experts such as the CDC, and in coordination with public authorities in Nevada and the City of Las Vegas, the NFL will modify its plans for the 2020 NFL Draft, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced today.
The clubs' selection of players will proceed as scheduled April 23-25. The NFL is exploring innovative options for how the process will be conducted and will provide that information as it becomes available. The selection process will be televised.
Public NFL Draft events in Las Vegas next month will not take place.
“This decision reflects our foremost priority – the health and safety of all fans and citizens,” said Commissioner Goodell. “While this outcome is disappointing both to the NFL and to the Las Vegas community, we look forward to partnering with the Raiders, the City of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for a future NFL Draft as well as evaluating opportunities for other major NFL events in Las Vegas in the future, including the Super Bowl.”
Mitchell says he’s asymptomatic
Donovan Mitchell says it took him time to “cool off” when it comes to Rudy Gobert’s negligence surrounding the coronavirus.
He also said the scariest part of the virus was the he did not feel sick, and felt that he could play basketball tonight if he could.
EXCLUSIVE: “I think that’s the scariest part about this virus is that you may seem fine.” @NBA star @spidadmitchell speaks out for the first time from isolation since being diagnosed with COVID-19, despite being “asymptomatic.” https://t.co/i9rZzYvW4s pic.twitter.com/wZJBteQjtV— Good Morning America (@GMA) March 16, 2020
Mitchell is donating money to help students in Utah, where he plays, so they have enough to eat while they’re out of school.
ESPN suspends shows
ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” will be canceled, along with all of the network’s Washington, D.C., based programming.
Early-morning Sportscenter is also going on hiatus.
ESPN is canceling all of its DC-based shows for the moment. (PTI etc..). It will also be putting its early morning SportsCenter on hiatus. Expect that network's programming to remain fluid as this pandemic continues,— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) March 15, 2020
Gobert delivers update on condition
In a video message posted on the NBA Twitter account, Utah Jazz forward Rudy Gobert said he is “feeling better every day,” but wishes he had taken the coronavirus outbreak more seriously.
Pistons player tests positive
Pistons forward Christian Wood has become the third NBA player to test positive for coronavirus, joining the Jazz’s Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. Wood has been in self-isolation since March 11 and is showing no symptoms.
Detroit Pistons‘ Christian Wood has tested positive for coronavirus, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Wood had 30 and 11 rebounds against Rudy Gobert on Saturday night before a career-high 32 on Wednesday.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 15, 2020
Sources say Wood has shown no symptoms and is doing well.
Mets shut down minor league complex
The New York Mets are shutting down their minor league complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla. and players will receive their daily allowances through the end of their standard spring training schedule, according to Newsday’s Tim Healey.
The Mets are shutting down their minor league complex and sending those players home.— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) March 15, 2020
The team will pay for their travel and continue to give them their daily allowance through the original end of spring training (early April).
No word yet on if they’ll get their salaries.
Gobert donates $500,000
Rudy Gobert, the Utah Jazz player who was diagnosed with coronavirus, prompting the NBA to shut down, announced a $500,000 donation on Saturday.
For employees at Vivint Smart Home Arena, the home of the Jazz, Gobert will help fund relief programs to make up for lost wages.
He’s also donating money to help families in Utah and in Oklahoma City, where he was diagnosed. The rest of the money will go to his native country, France.
NFL officials skeptical league timeline will stay the same
However, all signs point to an official ruling to come after players vote on a new collective bargaining agreement, which will be finished at midnight.
XFL player has positive diagnosis
USA Today confirmed that a Seattle Dragons player has coronavirus.
Seattle is home to the epicenter of the viral outbreak in the U.S.
Florida senate proclaims Florida State NCAA champions
In the wake of the NCAA Tournament’s cancellation, ESPN reported Saturday that the Florida Senate voted Thursday to proclaim the Florida State men’s basketball team NCAA champions. The Seminoles went 26-5 and won the ACC regular-season title for the first time in program history.
Giannis and Zion step up
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Zion Williamson joined the dozens of team or arena owners who are stepping up to pay workers who otherwise wouldn’t be getting paid during the suspensions.
It’s bigger than basketball! And during this tough time I want to help the people that make my life, my family’s lives and my teammates lives easier. Me and my family pledge to donate $100,000 to the Fiserv Forum staff. We can get through this together! 🙏🏽— Giannis Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) March 13, 2020
MLB encourages players to go home
From the AP: Major League Baseball is encouraging players to go home, a day after canceling the rest of the spring training schedule and postponing Opening Day by at least two weeks.
JetBlue Park in Fort Myers was among the spring training complexes shut down on Friday as the sport considered how to proceed.
Many teams said in the morning they planned to close for the weekend and re-open camps Monday. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred met Friday with the players' association leadership, and a decision was made to encourage players to leave camp in the afternoon.
“We don't have a playbook for this," Cleveland Indians president Chris Antonetti said in the morning. "We are learning on the fly. We are taking the approach that we will continue to prioritize the health and wellness of our players, our staff, their families, everyone at the complex, everyone throughout the organization. That is evolving day to day.”
The dispersal is not mandatory. In particular, many minor league players — especially from other countries — have been hoping to remain in camps, where they have usually access to housing, food and training facilities.
NFL to prohibit pre-draft visits
The NFL issued a directive to teams on Friday, saying that players cannot be hosted for pre-draft visits and teams cannot travel to college campuses.
There will be a punishment if the policy is violated.
Another big step from the NFL: Memo sent out today prohibits teams from hosting players on pre-draft visits and bans all travel to college campus or otherwise. Teams can do phone or video calls with 3 players per week.— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) March 13, 2020
Anyone that violates this policy is subject to discipline. pic.twitter.com/nrqudZKZkm
Jazz used up 60 percent of Okla.’s tests
An article published by The Daily Beast offers up some insight into how Rudy Gobert was so quickly diagnosed with coronavirus, and how the team was able to confirm the rest of its players and personnel weren’t sick.
The crux of it: The NBA has enough pull and was able to work with local doctors to fast-track tests for players.
In the United States, .8 percent of all coronavirus tests administered as of Thursday went to the Jazz contingent.
NCAA could still release bracket
Hoops fans, there’s some hope: the NCAA may release its 68-team bracket.
NEWS: NCAA senior VP of basketball Dan Gavitt tells @CBSSports that despite the fact there will be no March Madness this year, the NCAA has not yet completely killed the idea of building and releasing a 68-team 2020 NCAA Tournament bracket. https://t.co/BgwdEzm7YM— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) March 13, 2020
NBA’s contingency plans
According to ESPN, the NBA Players Association sent a letter to its constituents outlining what the league’s CBA has to say about “dramatic scenarios” like a global pandemic.
While the league hopes to pick up play, their are provisions in place if the season is canceled.
NCAA making changes to recruiting, eligibility
The NCAA announced Friday that recruiting for all sports, both on and off campus, is suspended until April 15.
Source: The NCAA has suspended recruiting for all sports both on and off campus until April 15th.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 13, 2020
This will limit coaches who travel to visit recruits during the spring.
In addition, the NCAA is reportedly recommending that spring athletes whose seasons were canceled receive an extra year of eligibility if they want it.
Per source, NCAA sent a note to membership today saying it believes "it will be appropriate to grant relief for the use of a season for competition for student-athletes who have participated in spring sports."— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) March 13, 2020
NCAA will start working on issues tied to this & winter athletes.
How NFL teams are dealing with coronavirus
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer ran through what all NFL teams are doing when it comes to limiting interaction during the coronavirus outbreak.
Auto races called off
From AP: NASCAR and IndyCar have each called off their races this weekend. NASCAR was scheduled to run Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway without spectators but said Friday it is calling off this weekend and next week’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
IndyCar was scheduled to open its season Sunday on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, but suspended it’s season through the end of April. Four races are affected.
2020 Masters postponed
Golf’s most prestigious tournament has been postponed.
Chairman Fred Ridley: “We hope this postponement puts us in the best position to safely host the Masters Tournament and our amateur events at some later date.”
The event was due to take place in Augusta, Ga., the weekend of April 9 to April 12.
Boston Marathon postponed to September
Boston mayor Marty Walsh, Governor Charlie Baker, the CEO of the Boston Marathon and the CEO of John Hancock will have an announcement at 10:15 a.m. on the Boston Marathon.
Walsh, Baker, the CEO of John Hancock and the CEO of the BAA will make the official Marathon postponement announcement at 10:15 a.m.— Adam Gaffin (@universalhub) March 13, 2020
EPL cans games
The English Premier League will shut down until April 4 due to coronavirus. On Thursday night, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for the novel virus. At least eight clubs have begun to self quarantine.
From the BBC: “It was unanimously decided to suspend the Premier League with the intention of returning on 4 April, subject to medical advice and conditions at the time,” they say. The Premier League’s chief executive, Richard Masters, describes this is an “unprecedented sitaution” and adds: “Above all, we wish Mikel Arteta and Callum Hudson-Odoi speedy recoveries, and everyone else affected by Covid-19. In this unprecedented situation, we are working closely with our clubs, government, The FA and EFL and can reassure everyone the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority. Despite the challenges, it is the Premier League’s aim to reschedule the displaced fixtures, including those played by academy sides, when it is safe to do so. In this fast-moving environment, further updates will be provided when appropriate.”
PGA cancels Players Championship
The PGA announced Thursday night it is cancelling The Players Championship and shutting down its other tournaments for the next three weeks with the following statement:
"It is with regret that we are announcing the cancellation of THE PLAYERS Championship. We have also decided to cancel all PGA TOUR events – across all of our Tours – in the coming weeks, through the Valero Texas Open.
"We have pledged from the start to be responsible, thoughtful and transparent with our decision process. We did everything possible to create a safe environment for our players in order to continue the event throughout the weekend, and we were endeavoring to give our fans a much-needed respite from the current climate. But at this point – and as the situation continues to rapidly change – the right thing to do for our players and our fans is to pause.
“We will be prepared to answer additional questions on Friday at 8 a.m.”
The Players Championship is the premier tournament run by the PGA Tour, offering a $15 million purse, the richest in golf history.
EPL to play on - with fans
Despite restrictions and cancellations around the world, the English Premier League is playing on this weekend.
From the BBC: In a statement, the English Football League said the guidance from the relevant authorities remained that there is no medical rationale to close or cancel sporting events at this time. “The EFL, however, will continue to work with government and relevant stakeholders to further develop contingency plans to ensure the League is best placed to act as and when any potential restrictions may come into force."
Hearing that XFL has informed players it is suspending play.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 12, 2020
NCAA Tournament is canceled
Call it March Sadness: The men’s and women’s Division I basketball tournaments are canceled.
The NCAA also canceled its winter and spring championships.
Relatedly, the Power-Five conferences suspended their sporting events.
- Big 12 and SEC sports suspended until March 30
- Big Ten sports suspended until end of academic year
- ACC and Pac-12 suspended until further notice
Basketball official sick
An official at the Conference Athletic Association tested positive for coronavirus. Northeastern played three games in the tournament.
MLB start date postponed
Opening Day will be pushed back at least two weeks, and spring training suspended, the MLB announced Thursday afternoon.
Minor League Baseball is following suit.
Celtics release statement: Likely not contagious
It’s unlikely the Jazz players who were diagnosed with coronavirus were contagious when they played at the Celtics on Friday, but Boston personnel – including the team – will be quarantined through the weekend.
NFL cancels annual meeting
The NFL won’t hold its annual meeting March 29 through April 1.
“This decision was made consistent with the league’s primary concern to protect the health of club and league employees and the public while enabling the league to continue with its essential business operations,” the league said in a statement.
Murphys Boxing cancels St Patrick’s Day Clash
Murphys Boxing announced that the 5th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Clash which was scheduled to take place Saturday at the House of Blues in Boston has been canceled.
Due to the Coronavirus, we’ve decided to take the prudent step to postpone our remaining St. Patricks Day shows & boxing event. Shows will be rescheduled for Sept 11, 12, & 13, these new dates will serve as our record release shows for our new album. More: https://t.co/2GQs9tY3d4 pic.twitter.com/oi3KJMwDca— Dropkick Murphys (@DropkickMurphys) March 12, 2020
Colleges begin canceling sports
Duke, Arizona State and Kansas are leading the charge among colleges suspending sporting events involving their student-athletes.
Duke University has implemented a suspension that "applies to all athletic competitions and practices for the health and safety of all who are essential to these activities.”— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) March 12, 2020
So you can see where this is headed. We’re not going to play an NCAA Tournament next week without Duke.
Duke’s athletic director is the chair of the NCAA Tournament committee.
Locally, Northeastern announced it was suspending spring sports.
NHL suspends games indefinitely
The NHL is pausing its season beginning with Thursday’s games. Matt Porter has the full story.
The AHL is following suit.
NFL has no plans to move league year; Patriots still scouting
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the NFL said it has “no plans to move the start of the league year,” which is set to begin on March 18 – Wednesday.
Beginning Monday, teams can begin to speak with free agents. That means Tom Brady could start hearing from teams who he may be interested in signing with.
While NFL teams like the Redskins and Buccaneers pull their personnel off pre-draft road trips, a source tells the Globe that the Patriots are still scouting at pro days.
Hockey East tournament canceled
The Hockey East tournament, which had limited fan attendance on Wednesday, will be canceled.
NASCAR won’t have fans
NASCAR’s next races will be limited to just competitors and necessary personnel. Fans won’t be in attendance.
College basketball tournaments canceled en masse
The Big 12, Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Pac-12, Big East, and American Athletic Conference tournaments were all canceled around noon ET on Thursday, hours before some were set to tip.
In Kansas City, players for Texas and Texas Tech were pulled off the court.
Conference USA, Western Athletic Conference, MAC, Southland, Sun Belt, Big Sky, and the Atlantic-10 are also being canceled.
But in Madison Square Garden, St. John’s and Creighton tipped off at noon for their quarterfinal game in the Big East tournament.
At halftime, it was announced that the tournament was canceled.
Pac-12 suspends all sports
Are we headed for a complete shutdown of Division I college athletics? A day after the Ivy League suspended spring sports, the Pac-12 followed suit, becoming the first Power-Five school to put restrictions on its spring athletes.
US Soccer on hiatus through April
Following the lead of MLS, US Soccer is calling off all of its camps and matches.
Mitchell tests positive
Donovan Mitchell became the second NBA player to test positive for coronavirus. Mitchell, who is Rudy Gobert’s teammate, was the only Jazz personnel to test positive among the 58 who were given the test.
Players to play on, but without fans
From the AP: The Players Championship will not have spectators for the final three days at the TPC Sawgrass.
A person involved in the discussions over the new coronavirus says the policy is expected to be in place for the next several weeks, starting with The Players and extending to next week at the Valspar Championship in the Tampa Bay area. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the move has not been announced.
The only times a PGA Tour event has kept fans off the course were safety issues related to weather.
Even as the NBA suspended its season and the NCAA said its basketball tournaments would not have fans, The Players began Thursday with fans. The only stipulation Thursday was they not ask for autographs.
Still to be determined was who would be allowed in. The source said media and key personnel would be allowed.
Marathon could move to fall
In an effort to salvage some of the immense economic impact it brings, the Boston Marathon may be moved to the fall.
MLS suspends season
Major League Soccer is in hiatus, according to a report.
NWHL postpones Boston final
The National Women’s Hockey League will have to wait to crown its champion. The Isobel Cup, scheduled to played Friday at Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, has been postponed. The Boston Pride was set to try for a title over the Minnesota Whitecaps.
ATP suspends tennis tour
The ATP men’s tennis tour suspended competition for six weeks.
Patriot League cancels spring sports
Another college conference joined the Ivy League in canceling all spring sports: The Patriot League announced on Thursday no practices or competitions would be held.
ACC Tournament going on as scheduled
The ACC will not cancel or postpone its conference tournament, but it will close the games to fans, it said Wednesday. Games are scheduled to tip at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Spanish team quarantined, league suspends play
Real Madrid's soccer and basketball teams were put in quarantine Thursday after a basketball player for the club tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Spanish club said that its soccer team was affected because it shares training facilities with the basketball team.
The decision by the club came moments before the Spanish league said the next two rounds of the top two soccer divisions will be suspended because of outbreak. The league said in a statement that it had taken the decision after becoming aware of “the quarantine established in Real Madrid and the possible cases in players from other clubs,” without mentioning those suspected cases.
No player from a Spanish soccer team has been reported to have the virus.
Following in the steps of the NBA, the G-League announced that its season was suspended, effective after Wednesday night’s games.
NHL set to make an announcement Thursday
In the wake of the news the NBA has indefinitely suspended its season, the NHL issued the following statement late Wednesday evening: “The National Hockey League is aware of the NBA’s decision tonight to indefinitely suspend its season due to a player testing positive for the coronavirus. The NHL is continuing to consult with medical experts and is evaluating the options. We expect to have a further update tomorrow.”
Links to read:
- Tara Sullivan: The NBA took a bold first step, now it’s time for others to follow
- The Celtics played the Jazz days before Rudy Gobert was diagnosed. What’s next?
Nebraska coach tests negative after sideline scare
Nebraska men’s basketball coach Fred Hoiberg tested negative for coronavirus – he has the flu – after being caught on camera looking visibly sick during the Cornhusker’s Big Ten Tournament loss on Wednesday night.
ACC tournament will be held without fans
The ACC issued the following statement Wednesday evening: “In light of the rapidly changing landscape regarding COVID-19, the latest developments nationally from health authorities and today’s announcement by the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel, the ACC will alter the remainder of the ACC Tournament. After consultation with the league’s presidents and athletic directors, it was determined that beginning Thursday, March 12, all games will be played with only essential tournament personnel, limited school administrators and student-athlete guests, broadcast television and credentialed media members present.”
In addition, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association has canceled its annual convention, issuing the following statement: “Due to the health and safety of our members, student-athletes, volunteers, staff and partners and with the data and information provided about COVID-19, the decision was made to cancel the 2020 WBCA Convention. For more information see frequently asked questions below.”
Italian soccer player may be first pro athlete with diagnosis
Juventus’ Daniele Rugani has been diagnosed with Covid-19, likely becoming the first pro athlete to receive a positive test for the virus. The Serie A team had its future games put on hiatus due to a country-wide shutdown of sports until early April to try to stem the outbreak.
No watching Bruins-Sharks in person
The San Jose Sharks have officially announced that their upcoming home games will be closed to fans.
Frozen Four still on, but with no one in stands
Following the precedent they set with the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, the NCAA will host the 2020 Frozen Four in Detroit but ban spectators.
The games will be played April 9 and 11.
The Hockey East playoffs, which are scheduled for this week, will go on without spectators in Amherst (Northeastern at UMass) and Lowell (BU at UMass Lowell). Spectators haven’t been banned from UConn at Maine or Providence at BC.
Bruins-Sabres will still have an audience
As scores of leagues pull the plug on spectators, the group that owns the Buffalo Sabres doubled down on the decision to allow fans to attend Friday’s Bruins-Sabres game.
NCAA won’t allow fans at basketball tournament
In an unprecedented move, the NCAA’s massive March Madness tournaments will go on – but without any fans in attendance.
The First Four is set to tip off on March 17.
NCAA president Mark Emmert has also implied that the national championship, which is set to be held April 6, could be moved out of the spacious Mercedez-Benz Stadium into a more appropriately sized venue.
The ACC Tournament, which began Wednesday, will still allow fans into its events despite the games tipping after the NCAA’s announcement. The Big 12 announced they wouldn’t be allowing fans after Wednesday, as did the Big Ten.
Bruins postpone 50th anniversary celebration
The Bruins are pushing a celebration for the 1970 Stanley Cup team into the 2020-21 season, citing greater risks of coronavirus in older adults. The ceremony had been planned for March 24, a game against the Red Wings.
Harvard hockey is done for season
With the ECAC quarterfinals series against RPI canceled, the Harvard men’s hockey season is done.
NCAA Tournament games in Ohio won’t have spectators
The governor of Ohio Mike DeWine said the state will issue an order that NCAA Tournament games in Ohio, including the First Four round in Dayton, will be played without fans in attendance.
“This seems difficult for people," Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine told reporters. "But we know what’s coming. We know what’s around the corner. … Everything looks the same, but it’s really not.”
San Francisco banning large events; Warriors to close arena to fans
The Golden State Warriors will be playing their home games in an empty arena for the foreseeable future due to the coronavirus outbreak, ESPN is reporting.
The city of San Francisco, where the Warriors’ Chase Center is located, announced Wednesday that it was banning gatherings of more than 1,000 people to try to stem the spread of the virus. The ban will be in place for at least two weeks.
Wizards’ ownership, however, has said it will defy a recommendation that mass gatherings be postponed or cancelled.
The Wizards' ownership group says it will not follow the DC Department of Health's recommendation that non-essential mass gatherings be postponed or cancelled.— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) March 11, 2020
"At the current direction of the NBA and NHL, our games will go on as scheduled and be open to spectators."
More here: https://t.co/q46aq7BFKX
Mariners must move games out of Seattle; Red Sox series scheduled for early April
It’s possible the Red Sox won’t be playing the Mariners in Seattle for their early-season series scheduled for April 9-12 after the Washington governor banned gatherings of more than 250 people in King County.
The Mariners released a statement, saying they were working with the commissioner’s office on alternative plans. Their season-opening series against the Rangers in Seattle will be moved as well.
World figure skating championships canceled
The world figure skating championships, which were scheduled to be held in Montreal beginning March 18, will be canceled.
NBA mulling moving games
ESPN reports that the NBA’s board of governors and the commissioner’s office are preparing for an important meeting Wednesday that will help determine the league’s course of action when it comes to protecting its fans and players from coronavirus.
Part of the proposal suggests teams based in cities with outbreaks could see their home games moved to an opponent’s home arena, or perhaps even a neutral site.
ESPN also reports that a few options are possible, including banning fans or suspending games.
“Sources say decisions on those options remain complicated by the fact that there has been a limited amount of public testing for the coronavirus in the United States,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote. “There is no full understanding of how widespread and debilitating the virus could become in the country.”
Relatedly, LeBron James is reconsidering his stance on the NBA playing without fans.
“I play for my family and I play for my fans,” he said Tuesday. "No one could actually come to the game if it actually got to that point. I would be disappointed in that. But at the same time, you got to listen to the people that are keeping track of what is going on. If they feel like it is best for the safety of the players, safety of the franchise and the safety of the league to mandate that, then we all listen to that.”
MLB prefers switching sites, not banning fans
From the AP: "If Major League Baseball can’t play in front of fans at a team’s home ballpark because of the virus outbreak, the sport’s first preference likely would be to switch games to the visiting team’s stadium if possible, a person familiar with the deliberations told The Associated Press.
“MLB starts its season on March 26. Among the games on opening day is Texas at Seattle — the Seattle area has been hit hard by the virus, with 24 deaths.”
NHL team could play in empty arena
The only hockey team affected by a mandatory gathering ban (so far) is the San Jose Sharks, who the Bruins are scheduled to face in Santa Clara County on March 21. A plan of action has not yet been determined.
European hockey cancelled
Norway became the fourth country, after Austria, Germany, and Poland, to cancel its domestic hockey season according to the Norwegian Ice Hockey Federation.
CBI tournament cancelled
One of the four men’s basketball postseason tournaments, the College Basketball Invitational, has been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
A sign of what’s to come?
The cancellation of the Ivy League tournament at Harvard could be a harbinger for sports in the Boston area. What about the Hockey East tournament? What will officials at TD Garden decide to do? Bob Hohler explores the possibilities.
And the Bruins are now working with special media protocols. Here are the details.
NCAA will make call on tournament in coming days
▪ The NCAA is assessing the risk of coronavirus on the upcoming NCAA Tournament, which is set to send thousands of athletes and fans to more than a dozen locations across the country.
“We are consulting with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel, who are leading experts in epidemiology and public health, and will make decisions in the coming days," the organization said in a statement.
Manchester United match at LASK to be played behind closed doors
▪ The first leg of Manchester United’s Europa League last-16 tie at LASK on Thursday will be played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus, according to a statement. LASK made the decision following advice from the Austrian government.
Manchester United have sold their allocation of just under 900 tickets, but the game is one of several European fixtures that will have no spectators.
“We will automatically issue refunds on behalf of LASK to our fans who have purchased tickets,” Manchester United said in a statement.
Connecticut high school sports canceled
▪ The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference decided to cancel the remainder of its winter championship tournaments. Here is the statement from the CIAC:
“Due to continuing concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) CIAC has made the difficult decision to cancel the remainder of its winter championship tournaments.The decision was made in light of discussions with numerous agencies and considering the circumstances of our member schools, our championship venues, and weighing the health and safety of our student-athletes, parents, and fans given the uncertainty that surrounds the spread of this virus.”
Connecticut Division 2 and Division 3 boys hockey tournaments opened up with their first-round games last week. Division 1 was scheduled to start Tuesday night. State finals were scheduled for March 19, 23 and 24 at Yale.
Gov. Ned Lamont announced that he will sign declarations enacting civil preparedness and public health emergencies in Connecticut in response to the outbreak.
The MIAA released a statement saying there are no changes to postseason schedules yet. Connecticut schools are one week behind Massachusetts schools; Mass. schools finish up postseason tournaments this Sunday.
Ivy League tournament canceled
▪ The Ivy League canceled its basketball tournaments scheduled to be held at Harvard’s Lavietes Pavilion this weekend, the league announced Tuesday. The two regular-season champions — the Princeton women and the Yale men — receive the conference’s automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament. Those who bought tickets to the games scheduled for Harvard will receive a full refund.
▪ The Atlantic Coast Conference announced it will hold its men’s basketball tournament as scheduled this week at the Greensboro Coliseum.
▪ The Big East Conference announced Monday evening that it is moving forward with its plans to conduct the men’s basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden March 11-14.
▪ Hockey East continues to monitor the situation, but as of Tuesday plans to go ahead with the men’s quarterfinals March 13-15 at the campus sites, with the semifinals and final played March 20-21 at TD Garden.
Rangers catcher Chirinos concerned about playing in Seattle
With just over two weeks until baseball's opening day, Texas Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos says he's “a little bit” concerned about traveling to Seattle with Washington state having the worst coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday the state is preparing for potentially tens of thousands of cases, based on estimates of the spread of the disease. The Mariners are scheduled to open their season by hosting the Rangers on March 26. Major League Baseball said Monday that all opening weekend series were still set to run as planned.
The Boston Marathon is on, for now
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said that as of Tuesday the Boston Marathon scheduled for next month is still on.
Conversations with other stakeholders involved in the marathon — which expects about 31,000 runners as well as million spectators and pumps more than $200 million into the city’s economy — are ongoing, Walsh said at an impromptu news conference outside City Hall.
Bruins-Sharks in Calfornia in flux
Santa Clara County in California has a gathering ban in place to stem the outbreak of coronavirus. The Bruins are scheduled to play the Sharks in San Jose a week from Saturday. Here’s what could happen.
Jerry Remy staying behind
Jerry Remy wasn’t scheduled to be with the Red Sox during their season opening swing through Toronto. Now, he’s skipping the second half of the first trip. The decision comes as a precaution.
“With all my underlying conditions, they don’t want me getting sick somewhere else other than at Mass General – they don’t want me quarantined somewhere and I can’t get back to Mass General, where they would really want me,” Remy said Tuesday.
Celtics cautious but more concerned for fans
The angst in the NBA is growing surrounding what the league might decide to do – and if they might play without fans in attendance.
“Nobody wants to play without fans,” coach Brad Stevens said Tuesday. “That would be really too bad. But totally understand if those decisions are made, they’re made by people that are much more qualified than us to make them.
European soccer played in empty stadiums
▪ All upcoming professional soccer games in Spain, France and Portugal, as well as some in Germany and a European Championship qualifying match in Slovakia, will be played in empty stadiums.
The Spanish league said Tuesday that matches in the first and second divisions will be played without fans for at least two weeks. The announcement came after the government outlined a series of preventative measures being implemented to help contain the spread of the virus, including ordering all sporting events with a significant number of fans — professional and non-professional — to be played in empty venues.
Olympic qualifying in flux
▪ Qualifying events for the Tokyo Olympics are being canceled or postponed almost daily, and time is running out for athletes to prove they meet the standard.
Rowing was the latest sport to find itself in flux on Tuesday when it canceled two World Cups, the European Olympic and Paralympic qualifying regatta, and the final Paralympic qualifier. All were to be held in Italy from April 10 to May 10. World Rowing said it wants to relocate the qualifiers and was talking with other countries. It hoped to offer good news next week.
Media access limited
▪ In an unprecedented move, MLB, MLS, NFL and the NHL issued a statement Monday night limiting locker room access for the media. "After consultation with infectious disease and public health experts, and given the issues that can be associated with close contact in pre- and post-game settings, all team locker rooms and clubhouses will be open only to players and essential employees of teams and team facilities until further notice,” the statement said. "Media access will be maintained in designated locations outside of the locker room and clubhouse setting. We will continue to closely monitor this situation and take any further steps necessary to maintain a safe and welcoming environment.”
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