Coronavirus updates: Every sporting event canceled so far as COVID-19 spreads in United States, CanadaSporting News — (Zac Al-Khateeb)
The potential spread of coronavirus is now, partly, a sports story.
As of late afternoon March 16, there were 3,487 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States and its territories, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There have also been 68 confirmed coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S.
The potential spread of coronavirus and COVID-19 has prompted several leagues, teams and individual players to weigh in on the infectious disease as it has made its way to the United States. Several teams have taken preemptive measures to limit the coronavirus spread, including limiting media access and spectators and canceling events and competitions altogether.
Below are all the U.S. sporting events that have been canceled or otherwise affected due to coronavirus:
NCAA president Mark Emmert released a statement on Thursday announcing the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament for both men's and women's basketball. It is also canceling all other winter and spring NCAA championships.
Prior to Thursday's statement, the NCAA said it would merely limit attendance at the tournament.
The NCAA COVID-19 advisory panel, made up of leading public health and infectious disease experts in America, advised that the NCAA hold games without fans.
The NHL has joined MLB, MLS and the NBA in suspending its season, beginning with 10 games initially scheduled for Thursday.
The NHL Players' Association approved the announcement in its own statement shortly thereafter.
MLB has canceled spring games (as of 4 p.m. ET on Thursday), postponed World Baseball Classic qualifier games and delayed the start of the regular season "by at least two weeks," according to a statement from the league:
MLB columnist Joel Sherman of the New York Post later reported that MLB is expected to delay Opening Day as well.
The league announced March 11 that it was halting play beginning March 12 after a player, reportedly the Jazz's Rudy Gobert, tested positive for COVID-19. The move came after the Jazz's game against the Thunder in Oklahoma City was postponed on March 11 after medical personnel consulted with game officials on the court. Players reportedly were quarantined inside Chesapeake Energy Arena after the game was called off.
Later on the 11th, the nationally televised game between the Pelicans and Kings in Sacramento, Calif., was called off. Sam Amick of The Athletic, citing a Pelicans source, reported that Pelicans players did not want to play after learning that referee Courtney Kirkland had worked a Jazz game on March 9.
Jazz player Donovan Mitchell tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday.
NBA G League suspends season
The NBA's developmental league is also shutting down in response to coronavirus concerns, it announced early Thursday.
The league announced March 12 that it would end play after five weeks, the halfway point of its 10-week inaugural season, and look to play a full schedule in 2021. It also announced its plan regarding player compensation.
The statement came out a day after the Seattle Dragons announced they would play their March 15 home against the LA. Wildcats without spectators at CenturyLink Field:
A source told Pro Football Talk that the league will try to play "at least" its championship game in the coming weeks. The title game was initially scheduled for April 26.
PGA Championship postponed
The PGA of America announced March 17 that the season's second major, scheduled for mid-May in San Francisco, will be pushed back.
"Throughout our evaluation process, we have been committed to following the guidance of public health authorities and given the coronavirus shelter-in-place order in effect in San Francisco, postponement is the best decision for all involved," Seth Waugh, CEO of the PGA of America, said in a statement.
Boston Marathon postponed
NASCAR events postponed
Indy 500 postponed to Aug. 23
ECHL cancels remainder of season; will AHL follow suit?
"Our game and our product are based on our Fans and their ability to cheer on their favorite ECHL team and Players at one of our many facilities around the continent. Without that social environment and game atmosphere, the ECHL simply isn’t the same," Ryan Crelin, commissioner of the minor pro hockey league, wrote on March 14 in announcing the cancellation.
The AHL suspended play on March 12. Sportsnet's Chris Johnston tweeted on March 14 that it would be more difficult for the AHL to resume than it would the NHL.
UFC events postponed
Three fight cards have been pushed back: London, Columbus and Portland, Ore. UFC president Dana White announced the postponements March 16. He said UFC 249, which is scheduled for April 18 is still on, but it will be moved from Brooklyn, N.Y., to likely somewhere outside the United States.
Bellator event postponed
MLS suspends season
MLS, which initially called off matches scheduled for March 21 in Seattle and San Jose, Calif., on Wednesday, suspended its season on March 12 for at least 30 days.
Conference basketball tournaments canceled
Several Division I men's and women's basketball tournaments were canceled prior to the start of Thursday's scheduled games, bringing into question how the NCAA would respond with its 2020 NCAA Tournament (the Big East canceled at halftime of the St. John's-Creighton game). Prior to Thursday's announcements, most conferences elected to run their tournaments with limited fan access.
Below are the canceled conference tournaments, their respective conferences' statements and the regular-season champions (and presumed automatic berth winners) in parentheses.
- ACC (Florida State)
- America East (Vermont)
- American (Cincinnati)
- Atlantic 10 (Dayton)
- Big 12 (Kansas)
- Big East (Creighton)
- Big Sky (Eastern Washington)
- Big Ten (Wisconsin)
- Conference USA (North Texas)
- MAC (Akron)
- MEAC (North Carolina Central)
- Pac-12 (Oregon)
- SEC (Kentucky)
- WAC (New Mexico State)
Kansas, Duke cancel athletic events
Kansas and Duke — college basketball blue bloods — announced that their respective institutions would cancel all athletic travel and events.
"In light of the rapidly developing circumstances with regard to COVID-19, Duke University is immediately suspending all athletic competition for the foreseeable future, President Vincent E. Price announced on Thursday," Duke said in a statement. "This suspension covers all sports, all competition and all practices."
"Our highest priority at Kansas Athletics is to ensure the safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff. Based on the recommendations of our medical professionals, we have canceled all athletic travel indefinitely. In addition, all home and away athletics events have been suspended indefinitely. We will continue to monitor the situation and determine the next appropriate steps based on advice from our medical team."
NIT canceled along with NCAAs
The second-tier National Invitation Tournament, which the NCAA also operates, has been wiped out for 2020 as part of the NCAA's decision to cancel all winter and spring championships. The NIT initially was to be played without fans, March Madness journalist Andy Katz reported on March 11. The first three rounds of the 32-team tournament were scheduled to be played at campus sites beginning March 17, while the semifinals and final were to be played at Madison Square Garden in New York on March 31 and April 2.
CBI tournament canceled
The CBI — a college basketball postseason tournament composed of teams that didn't make March Madness or the NIT — announced on March 11 that it has canceled its postseason tournament.
Ivy League basketball tournaments, spring sports canceled
As it stands now, March Madness will continue as planned — but the potential spread of coronavirus has already affected an NCAA-member conference. The Ivy League on Tuesday became the first conference to announce it would cancel its men's and women's basketball tournaments, awarding automatic berths to Yale men's basketball and Princeton women's basketball to the NCAA Tournament.
On Wednesday, the Ivy League announced it would cancel all spring athletics practice and competitions.
"Individual institutions will decide whether or not winter teams and student-athletes who have qualified for postseason play will participate," according to the release from the Ivy League.
Yale associate athletic director Mike Gambardella said the university had no comment yet as to whether or not the men's basketball team, which was declared the Ivy League champion after the conference tournament was canceled, would play in the NCAA Tournament.
The conference will likely ask for a blanket waiver/extra year for all spring sport athletes, per Dana O'Neill of The Athletic.
Big East to limit attendance at MSG event
The conference will play its remaining tournament games at Madison Square Garden in front of a handful of people, it said on March 11.
"Attendees will be limited to student-athletes, coaches, event staff, essential team and conference staff, television personnel, credentialed media and immediate family members of the participating teams. Schools will be limited to 200 tickets per institution," the conference announced.
MAC basketball tournament to be played without spectators
The MAC announced Tuesday night that it would hold its conference tournament in Cleveland behind closed doors this week.
Big West basketball tournament to be played without spectators
The Big West Tournament, scheduled to take place from Thursday through Saturday, will be played without spectators, the conference announced in a press release.
“The Big West Board of Directors, comprised of the chief executive officers of the nine member universities, strongly feel that this is a prudent way to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus while being sensitive to our student-athletes who have pointed towards playing in the tournament all season,” wrote Big West Commissioner Dennis Farrell. “Many of our institutions are developing plans to minimize the interaction of individuals on their campuses that could include the downsizing of events."
Games from the tournament will still be televised by ESPN.
Chicago State, UMKC cancel basketball games
Division I team Chicago State announced on March 3 that it would cancel the remainder of its men's and women's regular-season basketball games in response to the coronavirus. The men's team (4-25, 0-14 in WAC play) and women's team (1-26, 1-13) were scheduled to play at Seattle and Utah Valley on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.
The University of Missouri-Kansas City followed suit on March 4, canceling the men's basketball meeting with Seattle on Saturday. The Roos are 16-14 and 8-7 in league play.
Division III basketball tournament games played without spectators
John Hopkins University — which hosted the first and second rounds of the Division III men's basketball tournament on Friday and Saturday — announced on Thursday that its host games would be played without an audience.
"Johns Hopkins University is pleased to be hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA Division III men's basketball tournament this weekend. However, in light of Maryland's recently confirmed cases of COVID-19, and based on CDC guidance for large gatherings, we have determined that it is prudent to hold this tournament without spectators," John Hopkins released in a statement. "We are not making any determination about other JHU events at this time; while we await further guidance from public health authorities, we will be assessing large events on a case-by-case basis. We regret any inconvenience to the families and fans of the players."
Ohio State cancels spring football game
The university announced March 11 that the game, scheduled for April 11, will not be played. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is set to announce a prohibition of mass gatherings in the state. OSU is also closing all spring events to the public. Coach Ryan Day announced on Twitter that the football program will suspend unofficial and official visits through April 20. He also said that coaches will not recruit off campus during the spring, citing the university's revised travel guidelines.
NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS close locker rooms to media
The NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS released a joint statement on Monday announcing they would limit locker room access following games and practices.
Those leagues — which typically allow media to enter locker rooms to conduct player interviews — will restrict locker room access to players, essential team staff and facilities personnel until further notice.
"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, all team locker rooms and clubhouses will be open only to players and essential employees of teams and team facilities until further notice," the joint statement read.
"Media access will be maintained in designated locations outside of the locker room and clubhouse setting. These changes will be effective beginning with tomorrow's games and practices. We will continue to closely monitor this situation and take any further steps necessary to maintain a safe and welcoming environment."
PGA Tour cancels four tournaments
Tour officials announced March 17 that the RBC Heritage (April 13-19), Zurich Classic of New Orleans (April 20-26), Wells Fargo Championship (April 27-May 3) and AT&T Byron Nelson (May 4-10) will not be played. "We will continue to work with the tournaments and partners affected by the schedule changes to make a positive impact in their respective communities and allow those events to come back at full strength in 2021," they said in a statement.
PGA Tour cancels Players Championship, all other events before Masters
Tour officials reversed course on March 12 after going through with the first round of the TPC in Florida. They not only canceled the unofficial "fifth major" of men's golf, they also canceled their next four tournaments, through the Valero Texas Open from April 2-5.
The Texas Open is one week before the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga. Golf Digest reported March 12 that Masters officials are discussing contingencies for the tournament, including banning patrons from the course. (UPDATE: The Masters has been postponed, too.)
Indian Wells tennis tournament canceled, Miami Open in doubt
ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi announced on Monday the cancellation of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, Calif., located between Los Angeles and San Diego. She did, however, say the remainder of the ATP Tour would remain "status quo."
"While we regret that the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells will not take place, the ATP Tour calendar beyond Indian Wells remains as status quo. We continue to monitor the situation daily, working closely with our player and tournament members with the understanding that direction must be taken from local public health authorities.
"We are committed to exploring all options for the operation of upcoming tournaments as the health and safety of our players and all other stakeholders remain our top priority. Any further updates will be communicated on ATP platforms."
Marc Stein of The New York Times said it's likely that the Miami Open will also likely be canceled this month.
Oakland Athletics to relocate for early series
The MLB club announced March 11 that it will comply with orders by the city of Oakland, Calif., and Alameda County regarding public gatherings through March.
The A's are scheduled to open their season with a seven-game homestand vs. the Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros from March 26-April 1. They could wind up playing those games in Arizona.
Seattle Mariners home games banned
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday banned large group events through the end of March, including six Seattle Mariners home games at T-Mobile Park in Seattle against the Texas Rangers and Minnesota Twins. The Mariners in a statement said the organization is working with MLB to find alternative plans for those six games:
Golden State Warriors to play without spectators
San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed on Wednesday issued a moratorium on gatherings of more than 1,000 people in the city of San Francisco, including Golden State Warriors games. The Warriors, in order to comply with the city's mandate, will play its Thursday game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Giants cancel exhibition game against A's
The San Francisco Giants, also in compliance with the city's ban on large events, canceled its exhibition game against the Oakland A's, which was to be held on March 24 at Oracle Park in San Francisco.
The Giants' first home game is not until April 3, against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
World Figure Skating Championships in Montreal canceled
The World Figure Skating Championships, originally set to start March 16 in Montreal, was canceled on Wednesday.
ATP announces six-week suspension to men's tour
The Association of Tennis Professionals on Thursday announced a six-week suspension to its men's tour, which include the Miami Open, Men's Clay Court Championship, Grand Prix Hassan II, Rolex-Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.
"This is not a decision we have taken lightly and it represents a great loss for our tournaments, players and fans worldwide," the ATP said in its statement.
U.S. soccer reportedly cancels friendlies
The U.S. men will not travel for friendlies against the Netherlands and Wales. The women’s games against Australia and Brazil, scheduled for mid-April, are also going to be called off.
NFL reportedly tells employees to work from home
Per CBS' Jason La Canfora, the NFL has reportedly told the majority of its employees to start working from home starting on Friday. Additional reports note that the Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have pulled coaches and scouts off the road.
WNBA still preparing for upcoming April, May events
The WNBA on Thursday announced it is still preparing for upcoming events in the months of April and May, including the 2020 WNBA Draft (April 17), the start of training camp (April 26) and the tip of the 2020 season (May 15).
UEFA cancels matches
The UEFA on Thursday announced the cancellation of two matches (Manchester City vs. Real Madrid, Juventus vs. Olympique Lyonnais) due to coronavirus:
SEC, ACC, Pac-12 suspend athletics
The SEC, ACC and Pac-12 on Thursday announced the suspension of regular-season and championship events.
From the SEC:
"Based on the latest developments and the continued spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Southeastern Conference today announced the suspension of regular season competition for teams in all sports on SEC campuses, as well SEC championship events, until March 30."
From the ACC:
“The Atlantic Coast Conference has suspended all athletic related activities including all competition, formal and organized practice, recruiting and participation in NCAA championships until further notice."
From the Pac-12:
"The Pac-12 Conference has made the decision to cancel the remainder of the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament and all Pac-12 sport competitions and Pac-12 championship events, effective immediately, until further notice. This decision has been made in consultation with our member universities in an effort to limit the spread of the virus and in the interest of the health and safety of our student-athletes, campus personnel, working and event personnel, and all those who attend Pac-12 events.
The Big 12 also announced the cancellation of all championships until April 15. The Big Ten has only mentioned the cancellation of its conference basketball tournaments.
NFL cancels spring meeting
The NFL's annual spring meeting — held this year from March 29 through April 1 — has been canceled, per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network.
NJCAA to cancel/expedite championship events
The National Junior College Athletic Association on Thursday announced that it will cancel national championship events for Divisions I and II men's and women's sports while expediting already-occurring events for Division III to conclude on Friday.
"Due to the concerns surrounding the safety and security of our student-athletes and those involved with Division I and Division II NJCAA championships, we are postponing the tournaments and maintaining a fluid mentality to see these tournaments take place with a tentative start date," NCJAA president Christopher Parker said in a statement. "We have two main objectives in this situation — first and foremost is to protect the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, college personnel, and fans. Second is to make sure our student-athletes receive the national championship experience that they have worked so hard for."
World Women's Curling Championship canceled
The World Curling Federation on Thursday canceled the 2020 World Women's Curling Championship. The event, originally to be held in Prince George, B.C., from March 14-22, was not only a world title event but also worth qualification points for the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.
The World Curling Federation said it would consider the implications on Olympic qualification and discuss any potential changes that would need to be considered.
Said World Curling Federation president Kate Caithness:
"It's with regret we're announcing it is no longer possible to run this world championship. However, the safety of our athletes, officials, staff and supporters is paramount which we cannot guarantee with the fast-evolving nature of this worldwide situation."
WWE moves WrestleMania from Tampa to Performance Center
The company announced March 16 that its premier event will take place in front of "essential personnel" at its studio in Orlando, Fla., rather than two hours west at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL's Buccaneers. The pay-per-view event is still scheduled for Sunday, April 5.
'Smackdown Live' will have no live audience
WWE announced on Thursday (via Variety) that it is moving its "Smackdown Live" event from Detroit to the WWE’s training facility in Orlando, Fla., with essential personnel only.
Kentucky Derby to postpone Run for the Roses
Louisville, Ky., television station WDRB reported March 16 that Churchill Downs will push back the 146th running of the Derby to Sept. 5. The track will hold a news conference March 17 to discuss the race, WDRB reported.
The Courier Journal (Louisville, Ky.) reported March 12 that Churchill Downs would wait until closer to May 2 — the date of the Kentucky Derby — to make a decision on whether to postpone the event. Race organizers then announced March 14 that it would have a decision "in the coming week."
"(W)e have been working carefully and diligently with relevant health experts and authorities to ensure we make the most responsible decision regarding the timing of the 146th Kentucky Derby this year," the organizers said on the Derby website.
Bob Baffert, one of the top trainers in thoroughbred racing, said March 14 at Santa Anita Park in California (per the Courier Journal) that he was hearing the race might be moved to "June or September." A move to June might affect the Belmont Stakes in New York, the third jewel of racing's Triple Crown. That race is run in mid-June.
McDonald's All-American games canceled
Organizers of the annual event for elite high school basketball players said the decision to cancel was taken "to protect the health and safety of the players, coaches, fans and event staff." The games were scheduled for April 1 in Houston.