The sporting world was not able to stay away from Covid-19. It has affected sports here in the United States and the world on both small local scales, to massive worldwide scales. Everyone involved in sports, especially those that were in season or just about to start, are scrambling to try to do what they can to salvage what they hope to be a season that is not lost.
On March 12th, the Utah High School Athletics Association (UHSAA) postponed all spring sports seasons. This virtually put an end to all spring sports, many of which had barely started that week. There are rumblings that they will have those seasons play during the Summer season but nothing is confirmed as of now.
The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) cancelled it’s Winter sports championships and it’s spring sports seasons. This included the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, known as March Madness, causing us to lose out on the best basketball of the year. It also cancelled the College World Series, some of the best baseball of the year. The NCAA did announce that they were offering an extra year of eligibility to it’s spring athletes who were Seniors, so they could actually have and finish their final year of the sport they love. They did not grant the same to the winter athletes as many had already finished their regular seasons.
On a professional level, all of the United State’s professional leagues that have their seasons around this time have been postponed. The National Basketball Association (NBA) postponed it on March 12th, the day after our own Utah Jazz members Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert tested positive for Covid. The National Hockey League (NHL) did the same thing on the same day. Both are figuring out ways that they can finish out their seasons that were about to head into the postseason. The NBA has announced they want to name a champion by Labor Day, so by September. This would cause next season, the 2020-2021 season, to not begin till around Christmas.However this is just an idea and nothing is set in place as of now, April 8th. The NHL has not announced any plans as of yet.
Major League Baseball (MLB) had to cancel the rest of their Spring Training preseason and the beginning two or so weeks of their season as Opening Day was scheduled for March 26th. They, like the NBA, have been working trying to figure out ways to play the season. Some ideas have been having all 30 teams play in Arizona starting around mid-May. Others have been starting the season around mid-June to early-July and go as if it was a normal season and then have the world series in a warm-neutral city around Christmas. Just like the NBA however, nothing is in place as of now.
The only sports league that is going as somewhat per usual is the National Football League (NFL). Their official new season start day was March 17th. This meant that free agents could sign new contracts and the NFL Draft is still going to take place on April 23-25th. However, it will no longer take place in Las Vegas like it was originally planned, instead it will be one big conference call, where everyone is safe and distanced. It is unknown how that will affect the TV broadcast of it. Game will not start till September usually and as of now there is a belief among those in charge of the league that the games will begin as scheduled roughly less than six months from now.
No matter what sport it is it is being impacted in some way, whether big or small. As always we just have to do what we can to help this not continue to get out of hand by listening to the CDC and doing our part in social distancing and staying home. The sooner we do that, the sooner stuff goes back to somewhat normal, and that will mean the return of sports!