by Nick Borgia
Public Relations Manager
With the recent and rapid international outbreak of COVID-19, the sports world has come to a screeching halt. In order to combat the spread of the dangerous disease, league commissioners and higher-ups of sports organizations have made the call to cancel or postpone their seasons. And it all happened over the course of just two days. The NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA, MLS, and the XFL are just some of the major organizations that were affected.
On Mar. 11, the NBA became the first of big-time sports leagues to go down. In the days leading up to the decision, certain teams like the Warriors decided that no spectators would be allowed at future home games. However, the situation escalated when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus. The Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder were seconds away from tip off in their Mar. 11 matchup, but team doctors rushed onto the court to halt the game once Gobert’s test results came in. Within hours, the NBA season was suspended. Jazz Guard Donavan Mitchell, Gobert’s teammate, was also later confirmed to have the virus.
On Mar. 12, the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced that March Madness would be canceled. Similar to the NBA, many universities considered prohibiting fans from attending the annual event while allowing the tournament games to still be played, but once the coronavirus panic really set in, the NCAA decided it would be best to cancel the tournament outright. This will be the first year since 1939 that no national champion will be crowned in NCAA basketball.
Mar. 12 marks the day when everything else fell apart for professional sports, however. Spring training for the MLB was canceled, and opening day will take place no earlier than April 9. The NHL also suspended its season until further notice, while MLS has suspended its season until April 12. European soccer leagues, such as the Premier League, have it a bit worse as players and coaches have tested positive for coronavirus. Premier League matches will be cancelled until at least April 4. The brand-new XFL cancelled the remainder of its first season. The XFL was only half way through the regular season.
With every single professional sport being canceled, it was only a matter of time before high school sports would also be canceled. Along with the awful pandemic that is infecting and killing a great number of people, athletes across the nation are heartbroken to see their seasons thrown away. To think of the amount of high school seniors that have put in hundreds upon hundreds of hours of work and passion into the sports that they love, just to not be able to complete one last season alongside their teammates. The same thing goes for NCAA senior athletes as well. However, on Mar. 13, the NCAA declared that all senior athletes participating in a spring sport would be granted an extra year of eligibility, which will obviously be much appreciated by athletes and sports fans alike.
(Sources: The New York Times, USA Today)