Life is really simple, but we make it difficult
- Mar 5, 2006
Coronavirus live updates: Minor League Baseball season canceled; Players opt out of 60-game MLB season
How the coronavirus pandemic is affecting sports around the globe
he rapid spread of the coronavirus is causing cancellations and postponements of sporting events around the globe. As of Tuesday afternoon, there have been at least 116,000 coronavirus cases worldwide, according to CBS News. While 64,000 people have recovered, more than 4,000 have died. In America, multiple states are under a state of emergency and some politicians and public health officials are recommending large gatherings of people -- including sporting events -- in coronavirus hotspots be canceled or closed to the public.
As college basketball's postseason, MLB Opening Day and the NBA and NHL stretch runs approach, the coronavirus is set to have a serious effect on American sports. Abroad, soccer games in Europe are already being played in empty arenas without fans in certain countries. Here's a breakdown of cancellations and postponements of sporting events so far:
- The Ivy League canceled its conference tournament on Tuesday. Regular-season champions Yale (men's) and Princeton (women's) will earn NCAA Tournament bids.
- The Atlantic 10 conference is suspending handshakes for its conference tournament.
- Chicago State basketball announced last week that it will not travel for its final two regular-season games.
- In Baltimore, a Division III men's basketball NCAA Tournament game between Yeshiva University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute was held without a crowd due to coronavirus-related fears and is believed to be the first U.S. sporting event where fans were not allowed because of virus concerns. The only people allowed to attend were players, coaches, referees, employees and media members, so the official attendance was zero.
- The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo is the biggest global sporting event of the year, and organizers have already voiced concerns that the disease could cause problems.
- The status of the games could be up in the air as late as May.
- Japan's Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto later clarified that the contract the IOC has with the country states the organization "has the right to cancel the games only if they are not held during 2020," with no specific dates mentioned.
- The IOC has reiterated that there is "full commitment to the success of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, taking place from July 24 to Aug. 9, 2020."
- The flame lighting ceremony this week in Greece is happening with no fans in attendance.
- The regular season is on track to finish on April 15, and the NBA playoffs are scheduled to go on as scheduled, although players in the Chinese Basketball Association have been temporarily halted from signing NBA contracts.
- The league has advised the players on how to avoid the potential spread of the coronavirus while playing a contact-friendly sport. Among the suggestions was for players to avoid the postgame handshake and instead stick with fist bumps.
- The NBA reportedly plans to meet with owners and execs to go over a contingency plans for games, including the option of playing games in empty arenas, with only essential personnel in attendance and no spectators. LeBron James initially spoke out against playing in an empty arena but has since changed his stance.
- The NBA announced Monday it was limiting locker room access over coronavirus concerns.
- The NHL regular season is set to continue as scheduled with the final day on April 6 and the Stanley Cup Playoffs beginning shortly after.
- The league closed locker room access to media members, beginning Monday.
- The San Jose Sharks in particular are feeling the brunt of the coronavirus outbreak. Santa Clara County health officials announced a temporary ban on all events that would draw large gatherings and possibly spread the virus. That ban, which prohibits crowds of more than 1,000 people, will carry through at least the end of March and could affect multiple San Jose Sharks games scheduled at SAP Center in the coming weeks.
- The regular season has not started yet, but in spring training and for the foreseeable future, locker rooms will be closed to the media in an effort to limit the amount of contact between players and media members.
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