LIST: Sports cancellations, changes due to coronavirus outbreak
The coronavirus pandemic has affected sports around the globe, including in Northeast Florida.
The virus outbreak has led to canceled events and suspended seasons, as well as restricting the public’s access to events.
THE LATEST | Coronavirus Special Section
Here’s the latest on the impact of COVID-19 on the sports world:
PGA Tour scraps The Players & Masters Tournament
A day after the PGA Tour canceled The Players Championship, Augusta National announced it was postponing the Masters because of the spread of coronavirus.
Club chairman Fred Ridley says he hopes delaying the event means the golf club can host the Masters and two other events down the road. He did not say when the tournament might be held.
On Thursday, the PGA Tour scrapped The Players Championship after taking the initial step of closing off the tournament to fans.
AEW relocates show to Jacksonville
As a precautionary measure against COVID-19, All Elite Wrestling is relocating the March 18 AEW Dynmate show from Rochester, New York, to Jacksonville. The show will be televised live on TNT from Daily’s Place, and be managed under a restricted attendance policy. The Dynamite show in Rochester will be rescheduled for July 8 at Blue Cross Arena.
In addition, the AEW Dynamite show March 25 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, will be relocated to a new venue, which was not immediately announced.
NCAA cancels hoops tourney, all spring championships
The NCAA has canceled its men's and women's basketball tournaments because of the spread of coronavirus, putting an abrupt end to the season less than a month before champions were to be crowned.
The decision comes a day after the NCAA announced the games that were scheduled to start next week would go on but played in mostly empty arenas. That plan was scrapped as every major American sports league from the NBA to MLB put the brakes on its season due to concerns about the pandemic.
MARCH MADNESS | NCAA Tournaments canceled due to coronavirus
The NCAA canceled all of its spring championships in every sport, including baseball’s College World Series, which will not be held for the first time since 1946.
College basketball tournaments canceled
The biggest conferences in college sports all canceled their basketball tournaments Thursday because of the coronavirus.
Within minutes of each other, the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences announced that the remainder of their tournaments would not be played. All were preparing to play games in large arenas across the country, but with few people in the buildings.
SEC suspends all regular-season competition
The SEC announced that the league was suspending regular-season competition for teams in all sports on SEC campuses, as well as league championships, until March 30.
The SEC’s suspension of sport through March will also take football teams off the practice fields.
ACC puts sports on pause
The Atlantic Coast Conference, which includes Florida State University, has suspended all athletic-related activities. That includes all games, practices and recruiting.
ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement that “this is uncharted territory and the health and safety of our student-athletes and institutions remains our top priority.”
Following the ACC’s statement, Florida State Director of Athletics David Coburn released a statement announcing the suspension of spring sports.
“The ACC presidents and athletic directors, with the advice of U.S. health officials, have determined that the immediate suspension of competitions, practices and recruiting is the best course of action in response to the coronavirus threat,” Coburn said. “We regret having to take this action, but we believe it is in the best interest of our student-athletes and fans. Moving forward, we will continue to closely monitor all developments as they occur.”
Florida State said information about the potential refunding of tickets will be made available in the coming days.
Big 12 is canceling all of its championships
The Big 12 is canceling all of its championships through April 15, including upcoming gymnastics and equestrian meets, and will reassess the rest of its spring sports schedule April 15.
Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said he anticipated a conference-wide policy for spring football, though athletic directors have not yet discussed a plan.
The league anticipates a heavy financial hit from refunded ticket sales to its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments and having to adjust the rights fees it receives from its TV partners.
Bowlsby also said that nobody from the conference, including staff members, coaches and players, had fallen ill or been tested for coronavirus.
UNF suspends athletic activities
All University of North Florida Athletics’ activities -- including home and away competitions, along with practice and training sessions -- have been suspended indefinitely, as the NCAA has announced the cancellation of all winter and spring national championships.
The ASUN Conference is suspending all intercollegiate competitions through at least April 5, with the possibility of canceling all spring competition and championships, which is expected to be decided Friday.
The North Florida Athletics ticket office will contact all season ticket holders and single-game ticket purchasers in regards to UNF spring sports.
NBA suspends season
The NBA has suspended its season “until further notice" after a Utah Jazz player tested positive Wednesday for the coronavirus, a move that came only hours after the majority of the league’s owners were leaning toward playing games without fans in arenas. A second Jazz player later tested positive, as well.
The NBA became the first major American sports league to suspend play because of the coronavirus pandemic.
NFL teams curtailing or stopping scouting operations
NFL teams are curtailing or completely stopping scouting operations as a safeguard against the spread of the coronavirus.
The Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets are among those that have ordered their scouts and assistant coaches to return home in what typically is a busy time for evaluating college players. The NFL draft is scheduled for April 23-25 in Las Vegas.
Many teams have told employees to work remotely.
The NFL has also canceled its main owners meeting scheduled for later this month in Palm Beach, Florida.
Jaguars instruct personnel to return home
The Jaguars also announced they are pulling all traveling team staff off the road and are encouraging employees to work from home.
Private events, concerts at Daily’s Place and other fan events are being carefully calculated on a case-by-case basis.
XFL cancels remainder of season
Late Thursday, the fledgling football league the XFL canceled the remainder of its season, which had five weeks left.
MLB delays opening day by at least 2 weeks
Major League Baseball is delaying the start of its season by at least two weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak and suspended the rest of its spring training game schedule.
Opening day had been scheduled for March 26.
MLB had continued to play into Thursday and the announcement came while some exhibitions were still going on. But baseball changed course after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he strongly recommended to local authorities and organizers that they limit all mass gatherings.
MiLB delays start of season
The Minor League Baseball season, which was to start April 9, also was being delayed.
The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp posted a statement on Twitter, saying the team is fully supportive of the league’s decision.
Little League recommends temporary suspension
Little League International has recommended that its leagues “exercise an abundance of caution and implement a temporary suspension of all league activities until no earlier than April 6.”
Little League International operates more than 6,500 programs in more than 84 countries.
NHL ‘pausing’ season
The NHL is placing its season on ice -- for now.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday the league will “pause” its season, effective immediately, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
ECHL suspends play
The East Coast Hockey League -- which is made up of 26 teams, including the Jacksonville Icemen -- announced Thursday it had suspended the 2019-20 season for the safety of fans, players and employees.
NHRA postpones portion of Gatornationals
National Hot Rod Association officials announced Thursday they are postponing a portion of the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville.
Some Sportsman racing will be contested this weekend without ticketed spectators, but the majority of the event has been postponed to a later date.
NASCAR cancels races
After announcing Thursday that the next two NASCAR would be run without fans, that decision was modified Friday, canceling the Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.
NASCAR is working with public health officials to determine future scheduling beyond those events.
IndyCar to open season without spectators; Grand Prix of Long Beach called off
IndyCar will open its season on the streets of downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, without spectators.
The three-day event typically draws more than 130,000 fans. Local officials said earlier Thursday that no general admission would be permitted. Only essential personnel will be permitted inside the fencing that surrounds the course. The event will also be shortened to two days, with Friday used for driver health screenings and determining who is considered essential.
The Grand Prix of Long Beach scheduled for April 19 has been called off because of a ban in the California city of large scale gatherings. Race organizers said they are in conversation with the city of Long Beach and the Convention Center about potentially rescheduling the street race. Long Beach is the second most popular event on the IndyCar schedule behind the Indianapolis 500. Organizers said if a later date this year is not possible, the race will return on April 18, 2021.
F1 cancels season-opening Australian Grand Prix
Formula One organizers canceled the season-opening Australian Grand Prix hours ahead of the first official practice sessions because of concern over the spreading coronavirus.
The sport’s governing body, FIA, issued a joint statement with F1 and the Australian Grand Prix to confirm the cancellation of the race. It followed McLaren’s decision to withdraw after one of its team members tested positive for the virus.
The statement said discussions between F1 and the other nine team principals “concluded with a majority view of the teams that the race should not go ahead.”
There had been two practice sessions scheduled Friday, with qualifying Saturday for Sunday’s GP. No fans had been allowed into the Albert Park circuit on Friday morning.
MLS shutting down for 30 days due to coronavirus
Major League Soccer is shutting down for 30 days because of the coronavirus.
US Soccer cancels men’s & women’s national team matches
The U.S. Soccer Federation canceled exhibitions in March and April for its men’s and women’s national teams but says for now the under-23 men’s team will remain in Mexico for Olympic qualifying.
Champions League games postponed as virus hits world soccer
The deepening virus outbreak prompted the cancellation of Champions League soccer for the first time Thursday, with the high-profile match between Manchester City and Real Madrid one of two to be postponed.
Juventus’ home match against Lyon in the last 16 -- also scheduled for Tuesday -- was called off, too, as the coronavirus pandemic took its toll on leagues and cup competitions around the world, from Spain to the Netherlands to the United States.
Men’s pro tennis tour halted for 6 weeks
The ATP suspended all men's professional tennis tournaments for six weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the WTA said Thursday it was calling off one event in April and would decide on any further changes to the women's tour schedule within a week.
After the men’s tour said it would halt ATP Tour and ATP Challenger Tour competition until late April, WTA spokeswoman Amy Binder told The Associated Press the women’s tour was not immediately prepared to do the same.
“At this point in time,” Binder wrote in an email, “we are not looking to put in a 6 week suspension."
Later, WTA chairman and CEO Steve Simon said the tournament in Charleston, South Carolina, won’t be held as scheduled because of concerns about coronavirus. The clay-court Volvo Car Open was supposed to be April 6-12.
In a further indication of the fractured nature of tennis decision-making, the International Tennis Federation said its lower-tier events would be on hold until April 22; the men’s tour said its tournaments would not resume before the end of that week.
The next Grand Slam tournament, the French Open, is still scheduled to be held in Paris beginning May 24.
LPGA halts golf’s first major plus 2 tour events
The LPGA Tour has postponed golf’s first major championship of the season and two other events because of the coronavirus.
The tour called off the Volvik Founders Cup in Phoenix on March 19-22, the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, California, on March 26-29 and the major ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage, California, on April 2-5.
LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said in a statement he’s “fully committed to rescheduling these important events on our 2020 schedule,” especially the ANA Inspiration.
Earlier, the tour called off events in Thailand, Singapore and China.
Two California events on the developmental Symetra Tour also were postponed, the IOA Championship in Beaumont from March 27-29 and the Windsor Golf Classic in Windsor from April 2-4.
Figure skating governing body mulls switching worlds to fall
The 2020 World Figure Skating Championships could be held in the fall -- right before the next season gets started.
The International Skating Union, which called off next week’s worlds in Montreal on Wednesday as a safeguard against the spread of the new coronavirus, is considering staging them no sooner than October. The Grand Prix events for next season begin in late October.
Some 200 skaters from 50 countries had qualified for worlds. One of them, two-time world winner and four-time U.S. champ Nathan Chen, recognizes the challenge that competing in a rescheduled world championships would present.
Horsing racing continuing to operate without fans in stands
Horse racing is continuing to operate in North America and abroad without fans in the stands.
Races at Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields in California, Aqueduct in New York, Gulfstream Park in Florida, Laurel Park in Maryland and Turfway Park in Kentucky will go on without spectators. The upcoming Dubai World Cup will be held at an empty Meydan Racecourse on March 28. Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky, says when it opens for racing again in April there will not be fans allowed in.
Churchill Downs said preparations to hold the Kentucky Derby on May 2 are up in the air. According to a statement from track officials: “With the event still seven weeks away, a decision will be made closer to that date with respect to postponing the event until later in the year, using the most recent information while working with and seeking guidance from public health experts and authorities."
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