Over the course of more than 24 hours, the spread of the novel coronavirus has brought the sports world to a halt.
In a move that directly impacted local sports teams and leagues, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a restriction on gatherings of more than 250 people in three Seattle-area counties on Wednesday morning — and that was just the beginning.
After the Mariners, Sounders, Huskies and others were forced to begin exploring contingency plans, teams and leagues around the nation started to postpone and cancel games.
Late Wednesday night, it was reported that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert had tested positive for coronavirus shortly before the Jazz and Thunder were set to tip off in Oklahoma City. The NBA announced it was suspending its season quickly after that game was postponed.
Around Washington state, officials continue to confirm cases of the novel coronavirus. In total, 31 people in Washington state are known to have died from the disease.
Here’s a breakdown of the cancellations and postponements at the local and national level:
- MLB made a reversal of a policy expressed less than 24 hours before, announcing that all spring-training camps were to come a halt and that players could return to their homes.
- The day after the sports world was put on hold by the novel coronavirus, there was silence on the empty, rain-soaked fields of the Mariners complex.
- As the Mariners continue to stay and work out in Arizona, they’re still processing the fact that baseball is on hold at the moment.
- The rite of spring that is opening day for MLB has been postponed as the league announced Thursday that spring training in will be shut down and the start of the regular season will be postponed at least two weeks.
- After Gov. Inslee’s ban on large gatherings was announced, the Mariners began exploring contingency plans for their season-opening homestand. Here were the options.
- As it became apparent the NCAA basketball tournaments could not be held, organizers scrambled to devise a plan for a 16-team event to salvage the postseason in one long weekend.
- How will the shuttering of the NCAA Tournament impact the multi-million payouts to the schools and conferences? We don’t have a clear answer yet.
- The NCAA has canceled men’s and women’s Division I basketball tournaments amid coronavirus fears.
- Washington State’s win over Colorado on Wednesday night was the final game of the Pac-12 tournament, after the conference decided to cancel the remainder of the 2020 event on Thursday.
- Within minutes of each other, the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences announced the remainder of their tournaments would not be played.
- The NCAA announced on Wednesday that it would play the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in nearly empty arenas because of concerns about the coronavirus.
- A Seattle Dragons player has tested positive for coronavirus, the XFL said in a statement released Saturday.
- After watching league after league suspend their competition because of coronavirus concerns, the XFL followed suit on Thursday afternoon. The league announced it will shut down for the season.
- As a result of Gov. Inslee’s ban, the XFL announced Wednesday that no fans will attend the Dragons’ game against the Los Angeles Wildcats at CenturyLink Field on Sunday. The Dragons are preparing as usual, even if it means an empty stadium.
- The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association said in a release Friday that an employee at the state basketball tournament in Tacoma has tested positive for coronavirus.
- The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association said it’s still planning to hold spring sports state championships at the end of May. It will work with the districts across the state on how teams will qualify to be in the state field.
- The Pac-12 has canceled all competitions involving conference teams through the end of the school year, it announced on Saturday. The conference had previously suspended all events. All organized team activities remain suspended until March 29.
- After the cancellation of the spring and winter championships tournaments stemming from concerns over the novel coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA will grant an extra year of eligibility to athletes who participate in spring sports and is mulling the same for winter sports.
- The University of Washington announced Thursday that it will suspend athletic-related activities and events through March 29 due to concerns of the novel coronavirus.
- UW athletics canceled the Husky softball game against Team USA, which was to be played on Thursday afternoon in Seattle.
- UW athletics announced Wednesday afternoon that fans will not be allowed to attend the Huskies’ home games, but all games will continue as scheduled. In addition to the student-athletes, only coaches, essential working personnel, including media members, families and recruits will be allowed to attend the games.
- The NBA announced Wednesday that the 2019-20 season has been suspended indefinitely after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.
- Due to concerns over the novel coronavirus, the Sounders have canceled all operations at Starfire Sports in Tukwila, where they practice, including activities for their second-tier USL and academy programs, until further notice.
- Major League Soccer is suspending matches for 30 days amid the coronavirus crisis and plans to reschedule postponed games on the back-end of the season, the league announced on Thursday.
- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday the league will “pause” its season, effective immediately, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
- A look back at the 1919 Stanley Cup Final, the only major professional sports championship that failed to conclude because of a global pandemic.
- Organizers of the Boston Marathon, the planet’s most celebrated footrace, are postponing the event until Sept. 14 because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced Friday.
- So much for that annual rite of spring and the first week in April devoted to the brilliance of dogwoods and azaleas, and Tiger Woods chasing another green jacket. Augusta National on Friday postponed the Masters, another massive hit to the spring sports calendar.
- The NFL made one significant move Thursday when it announced that its annual spring league meetings, set for March 29-April 1 in Palm Beach, have been cancelled. Leagues business that is typically conducted at those meetings may be done electronically or postponed until the next regularly scheduled meetings May 19-20.
Minor League Baseball
- Minor League Baseball announced Thursday it would follow MLB and delay the start of its 2020 season. In the Seattle area, that would impact two Mariners affiliates: the Class AAA Tacoma Rainiers and Class A Everett AquaSox.
- NASCAR and IndyCar both reversed course Friday and pulled the plug on racing this weekend, with IndyCar suspending its season through the end of April due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Major League Rugby
- Major League Rugby will suspend its season for 30 days, too, the league announced Thursday. This affects the Seattle Seawolves, who won the previous two MLR championships.
Major junior hockey
- The remainder of the Western Hockey League season has been canceled. The commissioner announced that the remaining 54 games will not be played. The Everett Silvertips finished second in the final regular-season standings, while the Seattle Thunderbirds end in 16th place.
- Major junior hockey leagues including the Canadian Hockey League and its three regional leagues, the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League have put the rest of their regular season and playoffs on hold. This includes the Western Hockey League’s Everett Silvertips and the Seattle Thunderbirds, who both have five regular-season games remaining. The Silvertips have clinched a playoff spot, and the Thunderbirds are in position for a wild-card playoff spot.