The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has had a catastrophic effect worldwide, with sporting events being inflicted with cancellations, indefinite suspensions and iconic athletes having been tested positive for COVID-19 across the last week.
Each major sporting body in North America has in some way retaliated to the pandemic, with all major leagues and associations announcing their position to combat the pandemic.
Across all of these major bodies, several different scenarios are in play as each league/association is currently situated in a different phase into their 2019/2020 campaigns.
So where does each major sporting body currently stand amid the coronavirus crisis?
National Basketball Association (NBA)
The NBA was rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic after it had been reported that a Utah Jazz player had tested positive for the virus. The Jazz’s match up against Oklahoma City Thunder was brought to a halt while the players were beginning to warm up on court.
It was soon revealed that Jazz centre Rudy Gobert had contracted the virus and had immediately been positioned into quarantine.
The league took immediate effect on the situation, and soon positioned a suspension on the league indefinitely.
Since the news surrounding Gobert dropped, teammate Donovan Mitchell had tested positive to the virus and days later Detroit Pistons player Christian Wood had contracted the virus too.
Wood featured for the Pistons in their 111-105 loss to Utah last Saturday and was a consistent match up with Gobert during the match.
The NBA has since deployed a two-month suspension on the league, with a return set for mid to late June, while the indefinite suspension may change with the severity of the outbreak.
NBA teams with G League affiliate sides will expect the rest of the minor league’s season to be cancelled due to the coronavirus.
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
The NCAA has cancelled winter and spring championships, including the men’s Division I basketball tournament, March Madness.
The NCAA originally had planned to proceed with tournaments behind closed doors, but announced their change in position on Thursday.
A statement was released by NCAA President Mark Emmert:
“This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities.”
Major League Baseball (MLB)
The MLB has delayed its Opening Day fixtures and spring training by at least two weeks, with the season originally set to get underway on March 26.
“Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our players, employees and fans,” the league said in a statement. “MLB will continue to undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts. We send our best wishes to all individuals and communities that have been impacted by coronavirus.” The MLB released in statement.
The 2020 schedule remains unclear, with the league revealing they will be working closely with individual teams to prepare a contingency plan.
Minor League Baseball and the World Baseball Classic have both been postponed indefinitely.
National Hockey League (NHL)
The NHL announced on Thursday that the league has been cancelled, with no return date in sight.
The league expressed their concern for the health of all members and fans within the NHL cohort, announcing its decision after the NBA chose to suspend all games indefinitely.
Both the NHL and NBA share facilities and locker rooms, with the NHL looking to combat any coronavirus outbreak following the news an NBA player had tested positive to COVID-19.
Major League Soccer (MLS) and US Soccer
The MLS have postponed their season for 30 days amid the coronavirus outbreak while U.S. Soccer also announced that both the men’s and women’s national games have been cancelled until the end of April.
“Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season — based on the advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Agency of Canada, and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials and employees,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement.
“We’d like to thank our fans for their continued support during this challenging time.”