By Luke Mich
In an occurrence many doubted would happen, the world of sports has been put on hold in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic.
On March 9, the Italian soccer league Serie A postponed its matches until at least April 3. This decision resulted after the league played games the previous weekend without fans. Over the next two days, two international soccer leagues, the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League, also played games without fans.
This was only the start of the cancellations, as the domino effect was about to begin in North America.
For college basketball, the Ivy League decided to cancel its upcoming conference tournament on Tuesday, March 10. More college basketball conferences took notice the following day, since multiple conferences had planned to play their conference tournaments without fans.
March Madness, the time period when the Division I college basketball tournaments happen, announced that the tournament would be played without fans. That night, around 9 p.m. Eastern time, a Utah Jazz player named Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus before the team was supposed to play that night. The game was cancelled moments before tip-off.
Less than a half hour later, the NBA announced they would suspend the season indefinitely after the conclusion of the night games. The next day, the NHL and MLS suspended play, the MLB delayed its opening, and multiple college basketball conference cancelled their tournaments. Finally, the NCAA announced that all remaining D1 winter and spring championships and sporting events would be cancelled.
“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,” the NCAA stated on Thursday, March 12. “This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat.”
With all athletic conferences and leagues suspended, cancelled, or delayed, serious effects have ensued.
First, there are cases of players and coaches with confirmed cases of the virus, and currently, many more may have it unknowingly.
Second, it appears that there will be no sporting events played in Europe and North America until April 3 at the earliest, and this even appears likely to be pushed back.
Stadium and arena workers, who usually work by the hour or earn minimum wage, are struggling to make ends meet.
Players and managers have donated money to provide reliefs.
It is probable that more cases will emerge in the sports industry, since players come in close contact with each other while on and off the field/court. With college sports also being cancelled, it appears that it will be awhile for sports fans to watch anything live.