Updated: Coronavirus Greatly Affects 2020 Sports

The breaking news on Wednesday, March 11, on the NCAA Tournaments and the NBA season.


Photograph courtesy of CBS Sports

Utah Jazz, center, Rudy Gobert in a regular season home game.

By Zack Anderson and Jack Funke

UPDATE: March 13, 2020 at 10:28 AM

The NCAA released a statement saying, “Today, NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors canceled the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships.”

To sum the statement up, baseball, basketball, track, soccer, and wrestling seasons are over for the protection for athletes and spectators, including the highly anticipated March Madness.

To go along with that, the PGA also released a statement regarding public safety, saying, “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.”

Leaving many golf fans not happy as The Players Championship is one of the largest events every year.

The action didn’t stop there as the MLB made their decision to suspend their season by at least two weeks, along with spring training, in protection of “the safety and well-being of our players, Clubs and our millions of loyal fans.”

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman also decided to suspend the season, releasing a statement stating, “In light of ongoing developments resulting from the coronavirus, and after consulting with medical experts and convening a conference call of the Board of Governors, the National Hockey League is announcing today that it will pause the 2019-20 season beginning with tonight’s games.”

One of the more recent leagues to suspend their season was the new football league, the XFL. Commissioner Oliver Luck Released a statement that said, “Currently, the XFL will not be playing its regular-season games.”

There was questioning on whether or not XFL players will still get paid during the suspension, Luck answered that by saying, “All players will be paid their base pay and benefits for the 2020 regular season.”

The ATP, Association of Tennis Professionals, only suspended the tour for six weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak. The tournaments cancelled include major competitions such as BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, CA.

UPDATE: March 12, 2020 at 10:52 AM

In a statement released by the Big Ten at 10:52 AM, said “The Big Ten Conference announced today that it will be canceling the remainder of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, effective immediately.”

In addition, the SEC, Big 12, ACC, Pac 12 and the American Athletic Conference have also canceled their tournaments. The main priority for all athletics continues to be the health and safety of all athletes, coaches, administrators and fans.

UPDATE: March 12, 2020 at 10:05 AM 

NBA league sources released information that Rudy Gobert’s teammate Donovan Mitchell, has also tested positive for the coronavirus. He is the second confirmed NBA player with the virus and is the only individual testing positive out of the 58 people tested on the Jazz team.

Information was also released from Utah Jazz players privately saying that Rudy Gobert “showed cavalier attitude toward the virus with his teammates in the locker room, touching them and their belongings.”

  The Toronto Raptors played the Jazz on Sunday, March 9. The Raptors have also put their whole traveling party under testing for Corona and awaiting results. Teams that faced the Jazz in the past 10 days are being told to self-quarantine. Those teams include the Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, and Detroit Pistons.

ORIGINAL: March 11, 2020 at 10:30 PM

Photograph courtesy of CBS Sports
An empty March Madness arena. All games will only have limited number of attendance due to Coronavirus.

At around 3:35 p.m. CT on Tuesday, March 11, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) president, Mark Emmert, released a statement saying, “I have made the decision to conduct our upcoming championship events, including the Division 1 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, with only essential staff and limited family attendance.” 

After the fact, the NCAA also included the  Wrestling National Championship next week in this decision as well. At this time, we do not exactly know who is allowed to go and how many people will be able to attend as ‘family’ members. This is concerning both the NCAA March Madness Tournament and the Wrestling National Championship. Since the announcement from the NCAA, major conferences including the Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, SEC, Pac 12 and the Big East have released the same statement for their conference tournaments this week. 

The Big 12 and Big Ten already started their tournaments on Wednesday, March 11, and the ACC started on Tuesday, March 10. The Big 12 is the only conference that has released exact information on how many people are allowed in attendance. The games will be played with 125 family members and/or friends from each team, credentialed media, university staff members and essential arena employees. (ESPN)

“The attempt is to absolutely minimize the number of people here but still find a way to conduct events and actually get the opportunity to play games,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said.

Photograph courtesy of CBS Sports
Utah Jazz, center, Rudy Gobert in a regular season home game.

In an urgent response to the Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert testing positive for COVID-19, the NBA (National Basketball Association) has suspended future games indefinitely. Gobert had previously joked by touching all of the microphones at a press conference Monday, March 9, before the Jazz and Raptors faced off. Some may call it karma, as Gobert was ruled out due to illness before the Jazz game against the Thunder. Before tipoff, there was an unknown delay, with the only indication due to player sickness. They then canceled the game at Chesapeake Arena, March 11 in Oklahoma City. The NBA released a statement Wednesday night suspending NBA games indefinitely following the games that night. The league will use a ‘hiatus’ to determine further steps but no other information has been released.

As of 10:30 p.m., the entire Utah Jazz team has been told to stay inside the arena. They were told to stay in the locker room until they get tested for the coronavirus. No other NBA player has been tested positive at this time. 

With the uncertainty of how quickly COVID-19 spreads, all sporting events, both professionally and at the college level, will likely be impacted for some time.

This story was originally published on The Live Wire on March 12, 2020.