Sports and entertainment have long been held in the public eye as the greatest escape from the problems and challenges of our day-to-day lives.
And while that principle has been challenged many times in the past, perhaps it has never been proven less true that in the last 48 hours, as the sports world has snowballed into shuttering its doors amidst Wednesday’s announcement that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19, or the coronavirus, as a pandemic.
The NCAA men’s and women’s postseason, alongside the entire winter and spring sports calendar, was canceled Thursday afternoon after an announcement from the NCAA.
The decision followed an avalanche of spreading cases involving prominent athletes including the NBA and Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell who tested positive for the virus. A Colonial Athletic Association game official that worked the conference’s championship tournament also tested positive for the virus and did not display symptoms of the virus until 72 hours after the game was finished according to a press release from the CAA.
This naturally means that the seasons and careers of multiple MTSU teams and student-athletes have henceforth been ended in what is surely a shocking and disappointing conclusion for many. The NCAA has yet to announce if any athletes will receive waivers to ensure an extra year of eligibility to make up for the lost time due to the cancellation.
Professional organizations and leagues across the world have also begun to postpone their seasons. The NBA and NHL have announced a full pause to its regular season for the indefinite future, while the MLB has currently announced it will move its starting date two weeks back of its original date with spring training games canceled.
Across the pond, the UEFA Europa and Champions League in soccer played its games behind closed doors with no supporters in the stands on Wednesday and Thursday, but future matches have been postponed with no word as to when the ties will be made up. The English Premier League currently will play its games this weekend with supporters in attendance, but time will tell if that will stand with the announcement Thursday night that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for the virus.
The ATP and WTA tours announced on Wednesday that both tours will be postponed for six weeks and that major tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami have been canceled in a move that will shut down what has often considered the biggest non-Grand Slam tournaments on the calendar in the tennis world.
Even in the online world of esports, event organizers and players are being restricted. The ESL DOTA major scheduled to be held in Los Angeles was canceled following President Trump’s announcement of a travel ban to parts of Europe Wednesday night. Riot Games’ League of Legends leagues will also go forward without fans and with live finals events moved to home studios instead in North America and Europe, while the Chinese league is currently played totally online after postponing the season in early January.