First, the NBA suspended its season after a player tested positive for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Now, a second NBA player has tested positive, three more leagues are suspending their seasons, the PGA and NASCAR are barring fans, and the NCAA Tournament is off... We run down the latest virus-related developments in the sports world:
- College basketball: The NCAA initially said March Madness was still on, sans fans. But on Thursday, it canceled the tournament entirely, CNN reports. The AP notes that "the most powerful conferences in college sports" had previously canceled their tournaments, leaving the NCAA Tournament in doubt. The Power Five—the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences—made their announcements within minutes of each other. The NCAA announcement soon followed; the AP reports it is canceling all remaining winter and spring championships, including hockey, basketball, and lacrosse.
- Baseball: After rumors that Major League Baseball would suspend operations, MLB ultimately confirmed Thursday it is doing just that. Spring training games are being canceled, and the regular season, set to start March 26, will be delayed at least two weeks, per an official statement. Minor League Baseball followed suit, per Bleacher Report.
- Hockey: The National Hockey League is pausing the 2019-20 season beginning with Thursday's games, the NHL announced in a statement. "Given that our leagues share so many facilities and locker rooms [with the NBA] and it now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point—it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time," says the statement, which adds that the " goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup." Teams generally have about a dozen regular-season games left; the playoffs were set to begin April 6.
- Soccer: Major League Soccer is suspending the 2020 season for 30 days, effective immediately, the MLS said in a statement Thursday. "At the appropriate time, the league and clubs will communicate plans for the continuation of the 2020 season and update the status of league events," it says. US Soccer also announced Thursday that all men's and women's national team matches for March and April were being called off. (World soccer is also being impacted; more on that here.)
- Golf: The Professional Golf Association says PGA Tour events will continue, but spectators will be banned, Fox reports.
- Racing: Similarly, NASCAR and IndyCar said races will be held with no spectators, the AP reports.
- Tennis: Essentially Sports says tennis has canceled most of its tournaments and "the season may very well be over."
- Football: Since it's the off-season, effects are so far minimal, but CNN notes the NFL has canceled its annual meeting.
- Basketball: Meanwhile, a second Utah Jazz player has tested positive for the virus, ESPN reports. Donovan Mitchell confirmed the news on Instagram, writing, "Thanks to everyone who has been reaching out since hearing the news about my positive test. We are all learning more about the seriousness of this situation and hopefully people can continue to educate themselves and realize that they need to behave responsibly both for their own health and for the well being of those around them."
(The first NBA player diagnosed had jokingly touched everything
before finding out he had the virus.)