US professional sports world deals with ramifications of coronavirus

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In a stunning move of events on Wednesday evening, the professional sports world came to a sudden halt. The NBA became the first professional American sport to suspend all future games “until further notice” after Utah Jazz forward Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.

Four of the seven games scheduled on Wednesday were completed with the final two games between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City and the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings games postponed as a result of Gobert’s positive test and the rapid spread of the virus.

After most or all of the remaining NCAA Men’s and Women’s basketball conference tournaments were set to continue forward with “limited” to “no fans” in attendance on Wednesday, the NCAA governing body announced on Thursday that all conference tournaments along with both NCAA Men’s and Women’s Tournaments are canceled.

“The cancellation of entire seasons and championships, in college basketball and back to the state championships in basketball, it hit me hard,” said Valencia boys basketball head coach Bill Bedgood. “It’s just really, really sad because you think about all the work people put in and for the seniors, it is their last season. I know there are more important things in the world, but when you live that life, it’s about as big as it gets.”

The NHL, whose regular season began in early October and lasts until April 4, suspended its season indefinitely after hearing that an NBA player tested positive for the coronavirus, according to commissioner Gary Bettman’s statement:

“…However, following last night’s news that an NBA player has tested positive for coronavirus – and given that our leagues share so many facilities and locker rooms and it now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point – it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time.”

MLB announced that it will suspend all Spring Training events indefinitely in Arizona and Florida, but will still hold today’s games in Florida. The games in Arizona were canceled. The Dodgers hold their spring training along with the Chicago White Sox in Phoenix. 

With Opening Day lurking in the background, there still remain some questions to be answered.

“I think it’s better to be safe than sorry, there’s no doubt about it,” said Hart baseball head coach Jim Ozella. “I think all professional sports are concerned and worried about their players and personnel. I think that’s the call that needs to be taken and not just by professional sports, but by high school and college sports. Let us take care of the participants, staff and our loved ones.”

Major League Soccer also put its season on hold indefinitely for a monumental of 30 days and have canceled friendlies and youth national team training camps, as well.

While the NFL preseason doesn’t begin until August, the league is closely monitoring the situation, but still plans on holding the NFL Draft in Las Vegas on April 23-25. The NFL’s annual meeting that was set for later this month has been called off.

NASCAR and IndyCar races will move forward with no changes. Both sports will remain vigilant in the weeks and months to come. Sunday’s Atlanta Motor Speedway and the NASCAR Cup Series race at Homestead Miami Raceway on March 22 will be held without fans as a precaution.

The PGA Tour announced that the Players Championship and all events through the Valero Open, which was set to be held from April 2-5 are canceled.

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