This is a collection of organizations’ and leagues’ updated positions on the growing COVID-19 pandemic. As this situation is ever-changing, this article will be updated to reflect the current news cycle. As of March 24, here is where sports stand:
On March 17, USF’s athletics department, headed by Joan McDermott, released the following statement:
“In coordination with the leadership of the NCAA and West Coast Conference, all spring competitions and championship events have been canceled. We urge our fans to follow the guidelines set forth by our governmental leaders as we protect ourselves, our families, and our community. We thank you for your understanding and continued support during this time as we join in unison to assure the safety of our shared communities.”
The West Coast Conference (WCC) released the following statement on March 12:
“The WCC has canceled all spring competitions, including WCC championship events, and formal and organized practices, as announced by the conference office Thursday (Mar. 12) evening. The decision was made following consultation with the league’s presidents and athletic directors to mitigate the further spread of COVID-19.”
The NCAA released a statement on March 11:
“The NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel recognizes the fluidity of COVID-19 and its impact on hosting events in a public space. COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in the United States, and behavioral risk mitigation strategies are the best option for slowing the spread of this disease. This is especially important because mildly symptomatic individuals can transmit COVID-19. Given these considerations, coupled with a more unfavorable outcome of COVID-19 in older adults – especially those with underlying chronic medical conditions – we recommend against sporting events open to the public. We do believe sport events can take place with only essential personnel and limited family attendance, and this protects the players, employees, and fans.”
The NCAA went on to cancel their annual men’s and women’s March Madness basketball tournaments, along with all other spring sports on March 17.
In the professional world, the NBA, NHL, and MLS have all suspended their seasons. MLB has canceled spring training and delayed the start of the season by at least two weeks. The NFL has been working on changing its draft structure to an online structure, however, they will still retain their primetime broadcast slot for the draft in May.
Internationally, the Premier League has suspended play until further notice. Additionally, in a statement made on March 22, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that Canada would not be sending their athletes to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to postpone the games by one year. On March 24, that became a reality as IOC Chairman Thomas Back and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe announced that the games would be delayed until the summer of 2021.
In good news, Jelle’s Marbula 1, a marble racing series run on YouTube, continues and will finish their season on time.