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Coronavirus cancellation timeline: NFL, WNBA keeping draft dates

(AP Photo/Ben McKeown)

More and more sports leagues around the country are being canceled, suspended or adjusted in some way due to the coronavirus spread.

With more information on cancellations of events and suspensions of seasons coming in, here’s a look at everything that’s transpired and all things impacted by the virus:

This article will be continually updated as new restrictions become known.

March 26

NFL Draft still on for April 23-25

In a league memo, the NFL said that teams must plan on meeting somewhere outside of their facility with only a certain number of staff members present and have technology in place to communicate with other teams and the league.

General managers, though, are concerned about the amount of preparation they have not been able to get done while working from home and not at the team facilities.

WNBA to draft virtually

AP — The league announced Thursday that its draft will still be held April 17 as originally scheduled, but without players, fans or media in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The WNBA draft is a time to celebrate the exceptional athletes whose hard work and dreams are realized with their selections in the draft,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said. “Safeguarding the health and well-being of our prospects, players, employees, and everyone connected to our game as well as the general public is paramount.”

Logistics of the draft are still being worked out with ESPN although Engelbert confirmed she would announce the picks that night on the league’s broadcast partner’s network. She just isn’t sure where she’ll be doing it from; it could be her house, the league offices or another location.

March 25

NHL postpones draft, scouting combine and NHL Awards (2:02 p.m.)

The National Hockey League announced Wednesday that the 2020 NHL Draft, scouting combine and Awards show would all be postponed.

The draft was scheduled for June 26-27 in Montreal. The combine was to be held June 1-6 in Buffalo and the NHL Awards were slated for June 18 in Las Vegas.

March 24

2020 Tokyo Olympics postponed (8:50 a.m.)

The IOC announced a first-of-its-kind postponement of the Summer Olympics on Tuesday, bowing to the realities of a coronavirus pandemic that is shutting down daily life around the globe and making planning for a massive worldwide gathering in July a virtual impossibility.

The International Olympic Committee said the Tokyo Games “must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020, but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.”

March 16

NFL cancels public attendance at NFL Draft

Public events for the NFL Draft are canceled and the league is “exploring innovative options” for conducting the event in Las Vegas as scheduled, the league said in a statement on Monday.

The draft, which was set for April 23-25, will continue as originally scheduled. But the NFL said it is modifying its plans as the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has prompted many businesses to close up shop and authorities to advise against or outright ban public gatherings.

March 14

Pat’s Run (8 a.m.)

Instead of running the usual route with about 30,000 participants ending in Sun Devil Stadium, Pat’s Run racers are encouraged to run a “virtual” 4.2-mile course.

The race itself has been canceled, but to keep the event operational, people are encouraged to run their own routes individually and use social media to connect to the community.

Donations are still accepted. Funds will benefit the Tillman Scholars, a group made of military members, veterans and spouses.

Pac-12 (Noon)

The Pac-12 expanded its suspension of sporting events and announced they will be cancelled for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.

March 13 

Masters (7 a.m.)

Augusta National decided Monday to postpone the Masters because of the spread of the coronavirus. It was scheduled for April 9-12.

It’s the fifth PGA Tour event impacted the precautionary measures.

Club chairman Fred Ridley says he hopes postponing the event puts Augusta National in the best position to host the Masters and its other two events at some later date.

Ridley did not say when it would be held. The PGA Tour has canceled all events through the Masters, and golf has a full schedule of events through the year.

The next major would be the PGA Championship in San Francisco in May.

NASCAR (8:30 a.m.)

NASCAR has postponed the coming weekend’s races at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 was set for Sunday at 2 p.m. It was only the fifth weekend of the 2020 NASCAR schedule, which came through Phoenix Raceway for the FanShield 500 just last weekend.

NFL (11:40 a.m.)

Shortly after the Cardinals announce they are shutting down the team facility to all but with “very limited exceptions for operationally critical personnel,” NFL tells teams they can no longer meet draft prospects in person, either at team facilities or at the players’ colleges.

March 12

Tennis (7:32 a.m.)

ATP has suspended play for six weeks.

MLS (8:42 a.m.)

MLS has suspended all play for 30 days.

AAC (8:45 a.m.)

The AAC has canceled its conference tournament. The tournament was scheduled from March 12-15.

Big 10 (8:49 a.m.)

The Big 10 has canceled its conference tournament.

PGA Tour (8:58 a.m.)

All PGA Tour events will proceed as scheduled, but without spectators through the Valero Texas Open. In addition, the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship will be postponed. The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass allowed fans for the First Round of play, but will be restricting spectators for the final three rounds.

CUSA (9 a.m.)

The CUSA has canceled its conference tournament.

WAC (9 a.m.)

The WAC has canceled its conference tournament.

SEC (9:06 a.m.)

The SEC has canceled its conference tournament

ACC (9:15 a.m.)

The ACC has canceled its conference tournament.

Pac-12 (9:17 a.m.)

The Pac-12 has canceled its conference tournament. Three games were played at the Pac-12 Tournament Wednesday before the quarterfinals began Thursday. The Arizona Wildcats, California and Washington State all advanced to the next round.

USL (9:27 a.m.)

The USL has suspended play for a minimum of 30 days.

Big 12 (9:40 a.m.)

The Big 12 has canceled its conference tournament.

A-10 (9:50 a.m.)

The A-10 has canceled its conference tournament.

Big East (9:58 a.m.)

The Big East has canceled its conference tournament. Play between St. John’s and Creighton was stopped midgame Thursday.

NASCAR (10:33 a.m.)

NASCAR announced that it will hold its races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway without fans in attendance.

NHL (10:35 a.m.)

The NHL has officially paused the season. Clubs were originally advised by the league to avoid conducting morning skates, practices and team meetings Thursday morning before the suspension.

MLB (12:10 p.m.)

Major League Baseball is suspending spring training in Arizona and Florida and will delay the start of the regular season by at least two weeks as fears of coronavirus are heightened, the league announced Thursday.

“MLB will continue to evaluate ongoing events leading up to the start of the season. Guidance related to daily operations and workouts will be relayed to clubs in the coming days,” The MLB press release read. “As of 4:00 p.m. (ET) today, forthcoming spring training games have been canceled, and 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifier games in Tucson, Arizona have been postponed indefinitely.”

MiLB (12:51 p.m.)

The MiLB announced Thursday the decision to delay the start of the 2020 Championship Season. No date has been set.

NCAA (1:16 p.m.)

After originally planing to continue with March Madness at a limited capacity, the NCAA announced Thursday the decision to cancel both men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, among other spring and winter championship events.

IFL (2:13 p.m.)

The IFL is suspending play following Saturday night’s games in Oakland and San Diego, the league announced Thursday.

LPGA (2:23 p.m.)

The LPGA event scheduled for next week at Desert Ridge in Phoenix, along with two others, have been postponed due to the spread of coronavirus, the LPGA announced Thursday.

XFL (4:16 p.m.)

The XFL canceled its 2020 season and plan to resume play in 2021.

PGA (6:59 p.m.)

The PGA announced they are canceling The Players Championship and all events through the Valero Texas Open.

Boston Marathon (7:11 a.m.) reported that the Boston Marathon was postponing the 2020 race scheduled for April 20. They are hoping to reschedule the event.

March 11

XFL (11:36 a.m.)

The XFL announced Wednesday its scheduled game between the Seattle Dragons and L.A. Wildcats on Sunday will be played without fans in the venue.

NCAA (1:31 p.m.)

The NCAA announced on Wednesday that the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments would continue but without fans as authorities work to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

NBA (6:46 p.m.)

The National Basketball Association and NBA G League decided to suspend gameplay after the conclusion of Wednesday night’s games until further notice, the leagues announced in a press release.

The NBA will use the “hiatus” in order to determine the following actions for advancing the remainder of the NBA season in regard to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

The announcement comes after the league also announced that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert had preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19 prior to tip-off against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma. Since then, teammate Donovan Mitchell has also tested positive.

March 10

Ivy League (8:21 a.m.)

Tuesday morning, the Ivy League decided to cancel its basketball tournaments. The Ivy League took things a step further Wednesday, announcing the decision to cancel all athletic events through the remainder of the spring.


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