COVID-19 And Sports: Latest Updates Across All Leagues (www.yardbarker.com)

It’s been several months since sports in the United States came to a screeching halt amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the NBA, MLB and NHL seasons suddenly were put on hiatus.

Recent UFC bouts, WWE matches, NASCAR races and golf tournaments offered a glimmer of hope, and now the timelines of major sports are finally still being finalized. The NBA, NHL and MLB have announced plans to return to play, but with news breaking so often, we’ve gathered the latest stories fans need to know.

 

NBA

NBA commissioner Adam Silver
Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Here is what has happened over the last couple of weeks in the NBA:

NOVEMBER 20

  • According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the will begin the 2020-21 season in Tampa, Fla., due to Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. The Canadian federal government denied the Raptors’ plan to begin the season in Toronto, per the Toronto Star’s Doug Smith. This was expected, and the Raptors began their search for a temporary home within the United States a while ago. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 18

  • Anthony Davis admitted this week that he and a number of other NBA players were taken aback when notified of the 2020-12 season start date. “I was surprised. I think a lot of guys were surprised,” Davis relayed to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. “We feel like that’s kinda what the league already had in place. It was surprising to us because it’s something that was never talked about. Even Adam [Silver] came out and said it would be very unlikely to start on Christmas.” Read more here.
  • The Warriors‘ proposal to open Chase Center at 50% capacity for the upcoming season has been rejected by San Francisco’s Department of Public Health, according to Trisha Thadani and Ron Kroichick of The San Francisco Chronicle. However, the department displayed a willingness to work with the team to have some fans at home games. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 17

  • The league has announced details on the 2020-21 NBA season’s schedule, including a confirmation that there will be a play-in tournament between the No. 7-10 seeds in both conferences for the first time. See the details here.

NOVEMBER 15

  • The NBA is a little more than 24 hours away from allowing teams to start making trades, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Sources tell Woj that the moratorium will end at noon Eastern Time on Monday, giving teams a small window to complete deals before Wednesday night’s draft. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 14

  • The NBA is targeting December 11-19 for a potential 2020-21 preseason, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Teams would have the option of requesting three or four games, with each franchise being required to host at least one contest. The proposed timetable would finish three days before the start of the regular season on December 22. The idea of having a shortened preseason — or no preseason — had caused concern for some players and agents in terms of preventing injuries, with several teams not playing since March. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 13

  • The Golden State Warriors are leading the pack when it comes to submitting plans to host fans at home games during the upcoming NBA season. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reports that the Warriors are hoping that California officials allow them to reopen the Chase Center at 50% capacity for the 2020-21 season in a plan that has been called “Operation DubNation.” Read more here.
  • With things moving so quickly regarding the start of the next NBA season, teams feel frustrated by the lack of information and clarity they’ve received from the league about how everything will work, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “Nobody knows the rules,” an executive said, “and (the league) is making it up as it goes along.” Read more here.
  • The Toronto Raptors are no closer to hosting in-market games in Canada when the NBA season begins on Dec. 22. Per the Associated Press and ESPN News services, officials such as Canada’s Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo are concerned about the Raptors traveling back and forth between the two nations during the serious health crisis. Read more here

NOVEMBER 12

  • With NBA training camps set to get underway in less than three weeks and the regular season scheduled to tip off in less than six weeks, the Raptors don’t have much time to figure out where they’ll be playing in 2020-21. The franchise’s strong preference is still to spend the season in Toronto, with one team executive telling Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca, “If we can get it done in Toronto, we’d to it tomorrow.” However, restrictions on travel between the U.S. and Canada due to the coronavirus pandemic will make it impractical for teams to be going back and forth across the border for the next several months. As such, the Tampa Bay area has emerged as the most likely temporary home for the Raptors, team and league sources tell Grange. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 11

  • The New York Knicks were forced to shut down their training facility on Tuesday following multiple positive coronavirus tests, the team announced. Three team employees tested positive for COVID-19 during routine screenings. They’re all asymptomatic and currently in quarantine. Read more here.
  • According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the NBA sent a memo to all teams on Wednesday with details about protocols for eligible markets to host fans. Fans within 30 feet of the court must register a negative coronavirus test two days prior to the game or rapid test on game day. All fans over the age of two must also wear masks at all times. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 10

  • Free agency will begin on 6:00 p.m. ET on Friday, Nov. 20, less than 48 hours after the Nov. 18 draft. After a brief moratorium, signings will officially be permitted starting on Sunday, Nov. 22 at 12:01 p.m. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 9

  • According to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, multiple NBA health officials have expressed concern about the league’s Dec. 22 start date. The offseason will be among the shortest in the history of the league for players who competed at the NBA’s Walt Disney World bubble. However, some health officials are more concerned about teams that didn’t compete in the bubble. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 8

  • The NBA G League is discussing a number of options with its 28 teams for the 2020-21 season, one of which includes playing in a bubble environment, according to Harrison Feigen of SB Nation. Teams were notified that the goal remains to play out a full season, Feigen reports, but exact details of the campaign remain unknown. The bubble environment could also exist in “regional bubbles,” rather than the Disney format used to finish the 2019-20 NBA season. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 7

  • The Raptors have plenty of options if they need to find a temporary home in the United States, but team officials are optimistic that they will be able to play the upcoming season in Toronto, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Sources tell Berman that the NBA is working with the U.S. and Canadian governments to develop new guidelines regarding visiting teams coming into Toronto. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 6

  • According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the National Basketball Players Association has agreed to an NBA plan for the 2020-21 season to start on December 22 featuring a 72-game schedule. Read more here.
  • This schedule would leave just 71 days between the Lakers’ championship and the start of a new season, making it the shortest offseason in the history of America’s four major professional sports. LeBron James happened to see that stat on ESPN Friday, and he didn’t hide his displeasure on social media. Read more here.
  • The NBA and the NBPA have once again pushed back the deadline for either side to serve notice on terminating the Collective Bargaining Agreement, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports that the deadline will be moved from Nov. 6 to Monday, Nov. 9

NOVEMBER 5

  • The NBA has made no secret that it wants fans at games next season, and according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the league plans to “have arena suites open to fans at 25-to-50 percent capacity for 2020-21 season tipoff.” Read more here.

NOVEMBER 2

  • A play-in tournament to decide the final two playoff spots in each conference seems likely, Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN report. The tournament being discussed would include teams with the seventh-, eighth-, ninth- and 10th-best records. A 7 vs. 8 matchup would decide the No. 7 seed in the conference playoffs. The winner of the 9-10 game would then face the loser of the 7-8 game to decide the No. 8 seed. The tournament would create another revenue stream for the league, which is trying to find ways to make up for last season’s losses due to the coronavirus pandemic as well as the likelihood of having few or no fans in the stands for at least a portion of next season. Having more teams participate in the proposed format could also decrease some teams’ desire to tank. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 1

  • The Raptors have talked to the operators of the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, about using the facility for their home games next season, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. In response to the coronavirus, Canada has placed restrictions on international travel from the United States that are likely to still be in place whenever next season begins. With other teams unable to freely travel into Toronto, the Raptors are searching for a U.S. site to serve as their temporary home. Read more here.

OCTOBER 26

  • Even if the NBA’s salary cap doesn’t end up increasing at all for the 2020-21 season, teams are lobbying for a bump in the luxury tax line. Read more here.

OCTOBER 23

  • It doesn’t look like the NBA is looking to have another bubble environment for next season. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA could move to an MLB-style schedule where teams play mini-series against one another to limit travel. Read more here.
 

MLB

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Here is the latest MLB news from the past couple of weeks:

NOVEMBER 12

  • MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says that the league plans to have fans at games next season, at least in places where government officials will allow them to. Manfred acknowledged that the ballparks would not be at full capacity, as the increased likelihood of an outbreak makes that far too unsafe for the foreseeable future. He did say he hoped “to get people accustomed to the idea that you can go to these live events with appropriate protocols, pods of people, social distancing, masks, and do it safely.” Read more here.

NOVEMBER 10

  • Dodgers manager Dave Roberts admitted the team “could’ve all done things differently and done better” in handling Justin Turner being allowed to celebrate the Dodgers’ World Series win despite testing positive for COVID. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 8

  • Justin Turner returning for the team’s on-field championship celebration without a mask after Game 6 might have been more of a problem than the league believed it to be. Nine people within the Dodgers organization have now tested positive for COVID-19, L.A. County health officials said Saturday, according to Minyvonne Burke of NBC News. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 7

  • Despite the antagonistic tone of the negotiations that spilled so frequently into the public square last winter, executive director of the MLBPA Tony Clark is hopeful that the sequel this winter will strike a more amicable (and private) tone, per The Athletic’s Evan Drellich. Clark said, “There are lines that can be drawn between what happened this year and what may have happened historically. But I continue to remain optimistic that as a result of that experience, we have an opportunity and take advantage of the opportunity.” Read more here.

NOVEMBER 6

  • MLB utilized a universal designated hitter during the shortened 2020 regular season. That is a rule that might remain for the future. ESPN’s Jeff Passan wrote that the MLB players want a universal DH. MLB owners would like to have expanded playoffs moving forward like they had this year. They might try to get the players to agree to expanded playoffs in exchange for the universal DH, but the players would be less willing to have that. Read more here.
  • MLB determined on Friday that Dodgers 3B Justin Turner will receive no discipline for violating COVID-19 protocols in the World Series clincher. Turner was removed from the Game 6 clincher after testing positive for the coronavirus, but he still returned to the field to celebrate with his teammates following their 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. He was captured in photos without a mask and in close proximity to his Dodgers teammates. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 1

  • MLB commissioner Rob Manfred liked hosting the World Series at a neutral site so much that he’s willing to consider it for the future. Manfred said that there are many reasons a neutral site World Series could be beneficial for the teams involved. He did admit, however, that depriving home fans of seeing their teams in the World Series was a significant drawback. Read more here.

OCTOBER 31

  • Twins owner Jim Pohlad said recently that the revenue losses due to the pandemic in 2020 won’t be the impetus for payroll decision-making in 2021, per Phil Miller of the Star Tribune. Pohlad does admit to the uncertainty facing next season, especially concerning future fan attendance. Pohlad refers to an “uncertainty discount” in discussing the planning for next season, but what that means in practical terms is yet to be determined. Read more here.

OCTOBER 30

  • Given the uncertainty associated with COVID-19, however, MLB is considering a staggered start to 2021 spring training for minor-league players. If MLB were to adopt a staggered reporting system, higher-level players (likely those at Triple-A or in the majors) would be the only group to report to spring training at its typical start date. Lower-level players would report to spring camps only after the higher-level players have dispersed to start their regular seasons (MLB’s Opening Day is currently scheduled for April 1), thus minimizing human contact. Read more here.
  • MLB confirmed on Friday that the owners meetings scheduled for Nov. 17-19 in Arlington and winter meetings scheduled for Dec. 7-10 in Dallas have been canceled because of the health crisis. Instead, those events will be “conducted remotely as necessary,” according to the league. Read more here.

OCTOBER 29

  • The Los Angeles Dodgers have been advised to quarantine for 14 days by the Los Angeles County Health Department after Justin Turner was pulled from Game 6 of the World Series due to returning a positive COVID-19 test. The department said anyone “who has been a close contact of a person who has tested positive for the virus for 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period must quarantine for 14 days.” The majority of the Dodgers team, including coaches, fall under this umbrella after Turner violated MLB health and safety protocols and returned to the field to celebrate the World Series victory following the confirmation of his positive test on Tuesday. Read more here.

OCTOBER 28

  • Typically, a team celebrating a championship is a joyous event, but the Dodgers now find themselves steeped in controversy due to third baseman Justin Turner joining the team on the field for the postgame hugging and frolicking despite having tested positive for COVID-19. Turner had tested positive on Monday and was then tested again on Tuesday to confirm, but the team had not received the results in time for the game, so he was finally pulled in the eighth inning. Turner was taken into an examination room and told he had to be in isolation, but he ignored those instructions and headed to the field after the Dodgers sealed their World Series win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Read more here.
  • Major League Baseball is investigating Justin Turner for celebrating on the field after the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series. In a statement issued Wednesday, the league made clear that Turner ignored orders to refrain from going on the field. MLB promised a “full investigation” and admonished Turner for putting “everyone he came in contact with at risk.” Read more here.
  • Despite Turner’s positive test, all Dodgers players tested negative for COVID-19 on Wednesday and were allowed to travel on the team plane back to Los Angeles, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Read more here.

OCTOBER 27

  • Talk of revenue losses throughout the sport has been prominent since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but commissioner Rob Manfred put some more concrete numbers on the concept this week. In an interview with Barry M. Bloom for Sportico, Manfred said that the league’s 30 teams have amassed a collective $8.3 billion in debt and will post anywhere from $2.8 to $3.0 billion in combined operational losses. Read more here.

OCTOBER 21

  • Commissioner Rob Manfred made it clear that he and the owners of teams around the league would like to keep an expanded postseason format and the extra-inning tiebreaker rule going forward. When it comes to the extra-innings rule, Manfred believes the players liked it. The league placed a runner at second base to begin each extra inning to promote run-scoring and avoid lengthy contests. “I think the players like it,” Manfred said. “I think it’s really good from a safety and health perspective that keeps us from putting players in situations where they’re out there too long or in positions they’re not used to playing.” Read more here.

OCTOBER 2

  • In a joint statement released on Friday, MLB and the MLB Players Association announced that the league has gone 33 consecutive days and counting without a single player testing positive for the coronavirus. Two of the 15,024 samples collected over the past week were positive for the virus. Both of those cases were staff members from the same club. MLB added that players have tested negative for COVID-19 over 41 of the previous 42 days. Read more here.

OCTOBER 1

  • The bus driver who drove the Tennessee Titans to their game versus the Minnesota Vikings last weekend also drove the Houston Astros to their playoff series against the Minnesota Twins. The Titans are in the middle of a coronavirus outbreak that caused the NFL to postpone Sunday’s game between Tennessee and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 30

  • Major League Baseball is planning to allow up to 11,500 fans to attend the National League Championship Series and World Series held at Globe Life Field, home of the Texas Rangers. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 29

  • According to The Wall Street Journal, Major League Baseball and its teams lost an estimated $3 billion in revenue due to not being able to play games with fans in attendance. Commissioner Rob Manfred told the WSJ that playing next season without fans in attendance would be “economically devastating.” Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 28

  • Trevor Bauer took aim at MLB and suggested that the league is not allowing the families of players on designated road teams to attend playoff games. MLB hasn’t announced anything specific policy-wise on this. Players will be allowed to bring their families into the bubble, but the league had not clarified any rules about them attending games. Bauer seems to have been told that home players will have families attending games, but visiting families will not. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 26

  • The Blue Jays played a majority of their home games this season at Sahlen Field after the Canadian government denied them permission to play in Toronto. There’s currently no indication where the Blue Jays will play the 2021 season amid the coronavirus pandemic, but it appears that Rob Manfred is adamant about having the team play at home next year, saying MLB “will do everything humanly possible to convince the government that the Blue Jays should play in Toronto next year.” Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 25

  • The Chicago Cubs became one of the first teams to reportedly acknowledge that the coronavirus pandemic is likely to continue to negatively impact fan attendance next year. The Cubs understand that it is unlikely Wrigley Field will be at full capacity at any point during the 2021 MLB season, sources tell Jesse Rogers of ESPN. The realization is said to be based on “advice from medical experts, as well as restrictions because of local ordinances,” Rogers writes. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 23

  • The Phillies signed Greg Bird to a minor league contract Sept. 15, but the first baseman tested positive for the coronavirus upon physical entry after that, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Consequently, the Phillies did not place Bird on their 40-man playoff roster. Fortunately, though, none of the Phillies at the team’s alternate site were exposed to Bird. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 22

  • ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan reports that teams’ 2020 records are “highly likely” to be used to determine the order of the 2021 draft selection. Read more here.
  • Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that, pending approval by the appropriate authorities, the plan is to allow some fans to attend games at the NLCS and World Series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Read more here.
  • Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons has begun his offseason early. With Los Angeles on the brink of elimination from playoff contention, the club announced on Tuesday that the 31-year-old has opted out of the remainder of the regular season that finishes this Sunday. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 21

  • The Associated Press (h/t ESPN) confirmed on Monday that the highest seed playing in the World Series will serve as the “home team” and receive the final at-bats in Games 1 and 2 and, if necessary, Games 6 and 7. Per an agreement between the league and MLB Players Association, this year’s World Series will occur at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, the home ballpark of the Texas Rangers, to limit travel between clubs amid the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.
  • As recently as June, the concept of an expanded Arizona Fall League was under consideration by Major League Baseball. But MLB has now decided to cancel the AFL’s 2020 season, Josh Norris of Baseball America reports. The AFL is the latest baseball league to fall victim to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 16

  • Speaking at an online event hosted by Hofstra University this week, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said he hopes to make the expanded postseason format permanent, adding that he believes the opposition to the universal DH is waning and stating that the extra-inning rule has been received better than he anticipated. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 12

  • Brewers closer Josh Hader is encountering some unique challenges with the 2020 campaign even though it is 102 games shorter than a typical season. Hader opened up about his struggles to find a rhythm in the shortened season. Specifically, the All-Star lefty alluded to having difficulty adjusting to the stop-and-start nature of the last several months. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 3

  • Yoan Moncada says he is still experiencing some struggles since battling COVID-19 earlier this summer: “Definitely my body doesn’t feel the same after the virus.” Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 2

  • The 2021 MLB Draft will be pushed from June to July 11-13 and take place in conjunction with next year’s All-Star festivities in Atlanta, reports ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel. The length of next year’s draft still is not set in stone, but it will be longer than this year’s heavily truncated five-round event. Read more here.
  • All-time great New York Mets pitcher Tom Seaver has died at the age of 75. The Baseball Hall of Fame announced on Wednesday that Seaver died peacefully in his sleep due to complications from both Lewy body dementia and COVID-19. Read more here.

AUGUST 28

  • According to J.J. Cooper of Baseball America, MLB proposed a “Baseball Cup” that would involve a combination of all MLB and MiLB teams, where 150 teams would compete in a single-elimination tournament, with clubs from Class A theoretically facing MLB squads. Read more here.

AUGUST 11

  • Liberty Media revealed, via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Tim Tucker, that the Braves’ revenue plummeted 95% compared to the same quarter in 2019. The club generated $208 million in revenue from April through June in 2019. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, that number dropped to $11 million this year. Read more here.

AUGUST 10

  • According to SNY’s Andy Martino, MLB executives are now polling teams about canceling the in-person winter meetings and making the event virtual this year. The 2020 winter meetings are currently set to take place in Dallas from Dec. 6-10, but many around the league aren’t entirely comfortable with the situation. Instead, executives would prefer to conduct their business virtually, negotiating with agents and other teams from the comfort of their homes. Read more here.

JULY 29

  • Lou Schwechheimer, owner of the Miami Marlins‘ Triple-A affiliate Wichita Wind Surge, died on Wednesday from complications caused by COVID-19. Schwechheimer was 62 years old. Read more here.
 

NHL

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Here is what the NHL has been doing over the past couple of weeks to prepare for he league’s resumption:

NOVEMBER 18

  • The ECHL will not have a North Division this season as all six teams have decided to opt out of the 2020-21 campaign. The six teams that will be ceasing operations for the upcoming season are the Adirondack Thunder, an affiliate of the New Jersey Devils, the Brampton Beast (Ottawa Senators), Maine Mariners (New York Rangers), Newfoundland Growlers (Toronto Maple Leafs), Reading Royals (Philadelphia Flyers) and Worcester Railers (New York Islanders). These six teams join the Atlanta Gladiators (Boston Bruins) and Norfolk Admirals (independent) who had already opted out. Read more here.
  • Ryan Rishaug of TSN reports that Senators first-round pick Ridly Greig tested positive for COVID-19 on November 8. Greig, who is asymptomatic, is at home quarantining. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 17

  • As the NHL continues to work with the NHLPA’s Return to Play Committee on plans to begin the 2020-21 season, the league has requested more financial concessions from the players. Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports that the NHL is seeking an additional 13% of salary deferral on 2020-21 player salaries. This is in addition to a 10% deferral and 20% escrow written into the Collective Bargaining Agreement for the 2020-21 season. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 10

  • For NHL teams looking to get their prospects back on the ice in a competitive situation, the ECHL may soon be an option. The minor league announced Tuesday that training camps will open on Nov. 27 for all the teams that are starting their season on Dec. 11. The ECHL has split their league into two groups, with 13 teams beginning on Dec. 11 and the rest waiting until Jan. 15. The training camps for the latter group will open on Jan. 1. Read more here.
  • The NHL is still targeting a January start for the upcoming season, but there is still a lot of work to be done between the league and NHLPA. As reported by Nick Cotsonika of NHL.com, Commissioner Gary Bettman spoke Tuesday about some of the things still being discussed, including the idea of hubs where teams would enter a city and “play for 10 to 12 days” without any travel, and then return home. Players have been very clear about the fact that they will not agree to a season-long bubble away from their families, and Bettman confirmed that he will not ask them to do so. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 2

  • The NHL is targeting a January start for the 2020-21 season. While we don’t know many details about the upcoming season, ESPN’s Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski provided an update about the length of the upcoming campaign. Kaplan and Wyshynski report that the league will play at least 48 regular-season games next season and nothing less. Read more here.

OCTOBER 29

  • NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN’s Emily Kaplan on Thursday that the league wants to return to a normal regular-season schedule for the 2021-22 campaign. Figuring out an upcoming season destined to be altered by the worsening coronavirus pandemic is still proving to be a challenge heading into November. Read more here.

OCTOBER 28

  • American Hockey League president Scott Howson recently told ESPN that a Dec. 4 start date for the 2020-21 season held amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic wasn’t realistic. The AHL is now delaying the campaign’s start by two months. In an official announcement, Howson explained that the league’s board of governors approved the postponement of the season’s tentative start date to at least Feb. 5. Read more here.

OCTOBER 24

  • The 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs — the “bubble playoffs” — were nothing short of an immense success for the NHL. Yet, the challenges faced in planning the postseason are different than mapping out how the 2020-21 regular season might proceed. As deputy commissioner Bill Daly tells The Athletic’s Michael Russo, “It’s going to be a challenge.” Read more here.

OCTOBER 22

  • When the American Hockey League announced in late July that it planned to begin the 2020-21 season amid the coronavirus pandemic on Dec. 4, it felt overly optimistic at absolute best. League president Scott Howson acknowledged just that while speaking with ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski this week. “We’re getting close to Dec. 4, and there’s been minimal improvement as far as fan capacity,” Howson said. “The virus seems to be getting worse right now. The borders are still closed. We’ll probably be going to our Board in the next two to three weeks with another plan. “The purpose is that maybe Dec. 4 isn’t realistic. That our teams aren’t ready to do that.” Read more here.
  • The NHL has officially postponed both the 2021 Winter Classic and 2021 All-Star weekend due to the lack of fan participation and attendance that will be possible. The league has not changed its previous target of Jan. 1 as a potential start date for the upcoming season, though that is obviously still not confirmed at this point. Read more here.

OCTOBER 10

  • NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is being met with questions about what the 2020-21 season has in store. According to Mark Zwolinski of The Star, Alberta’s Lake Louise — with its famous mountain backdrop — has been discussed as a possible location for the NHL’s opening day. Playing outdoors on a lake would be possible because the league isn’t planning on beginning the 2020-21 campaign until at least January. Read more here.

OCTOBER 5

  • The Edmonton Oilers have announced that Connor McDavid tested positive for COVID-19. The superstar forward has entered into voluntary self-quarantine at his home and is experiencing mild symptoms. Read more here.

OCTOBER 4

  • With the coronavirus pandemic causing the postseason to be played over the summer and into the fall, the league now is faced with questions about when the 2020-21 campaign will start. According to Seth Rorabaugh of the Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry was informed to be prepared for the start of training camp to open on Nov. 15. Teams are usually given about a month to prepare for the upcoming season through training camp and preseason games. If the NHL indeed is aiming for a November start, then the 2020-21 campaign could begin as early as December. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 24

  • On Thursday, the NHL unveiled protocols for offseason training ahead of the 2020-21 regular season that will be held amid the coronavirus pandemic. Among the rules, NHL clubs are permitted to open in-market training facilities on Oct. 15 for voluntary workouts. At least five players must notify a team about intentions to train before the club opens its facilities, and a maximum of 12 players are permitted on the ice at the same time. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 19

  • Gary Bettman revealed in his annual state of the league address that the 2020-21 season could begin as late as January. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 18

  • While the league has held firm on its desire to begin the new season before the end of the calendar year and to play a full 82-game schedule, doubts are starting to creep in about how this can be arranged as COVID-19 continues to be prevalent in North America. Even deputy commissioner Bill Daly recently stated that he does not know for sure when and how the league will return to regular-season play, though he did say that a start date prior to Dec. 1 is more unlikely than not. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 14

  • Goaltender Ryan Miller explained that if the NHL moves to full-season bubbles it wouldn’t be fair to him or his family for him to sign up and leave for nine months, a notion that is likely shared by many around the league. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 11

  • TSN’s Frank Seravalli writes the Sabres are planning to enforce an internal salary cap in the low $70M range, potentially putting payroll $10M under the $81.5M salary-cap ceiling due to financial difficulties caused by the pandemic. Read more here.

AUGUST 21

  • The Arizona Coyotes are yet another professional sports franchise to have laid off and furloughed staff members because of financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic. While the Associated Press (h/t ESPN) was able to confirm the cuts, the Coyotes didn’t announce how many staff members lost their jobs or which departments within the franchise were affected by the decisions. Read more here.

AUGUST 10

  • As had been expected, the 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony scheduled for Nov. 16 in Toronto has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), the Hall will further discuss rescheduling ideas on Oct. 29. Chairman Lanny McDonald added that a virtual ceremony won’t be considered and that the in-person event could be moved to November 2021. Read more here.

JULY 30

  • The American Hockey League, the NHL’s primary developmental league, has announced a tentative start date for the 2020-21 campaign amid the coronavirus pandemic: Dec. 4. Read more here.
 

NFL

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL season started without issues, but the Titans suffered a COVID outbreak, and several big-name Patriots tested positive. As the NFL hopes to continue the season, we’ll bring you the latest updates from the league:

NOVEMBER 20

  • Myles Garrett, who has missed practice all week due to illness, has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the Browns announced Friday. Read more here.
  • The Broncos announced on Friday that an increase of COVID-19 cases in the area has led to the franchise banning fans from upcoming home games against the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 29, Buffalo Bills on Dec. 20 and Las Vegas Raiders on Jan. 3. Read more here.
  • Following Graham Gano‘s coronavirus contraction, three more Giants players have submitted positive tests. Rookie tackle Matt Peart, tight end Kaden Smith and recently added wide receiver Dante Pettis tested positive for COVID-19, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. They will join Gano, punter Riley Dixon and long snapper Casey Kreiter on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list. Read more here.
  • The State of Pennsylvania issued updated COVID-19 protocols this week that left some under the impression that the Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles and their opponents will be required to wear masks during games going forward, but that is not the case. While NFL teams have not been granted their own special exemption, it sounds like there is a loophole of sorts. Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten has since clarified that the team is covered under Section 3 of the Secretary of Health’s Universal Face Covering Order. That section provides exemptions for athletes including for “respiratory issues that impede breathing” while playing a sport. NFL teams can likely argue that players will not be able to breathe properly while playing if they’re required to wear masks. Read more here.
  • As Mike Wells of ESPN explained, the Colts have placed defensive lineman Denico Autry on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Autry missed Thursday’s practice because of an undisclosed illness. Read more here.
  • With the NFL passing an in-case-of-emergency amended playoff bracket and having a tentative Week 18 in place in case games need to be rescheduled, the league is planning ahead. Its months-long anti-bubble stance remains, but the prospect of one taking place in the postseason has not been ruled out. Read more here.
  • The 49ers have now placed seven players on their reserve/COVID-19 list this week. Two of those — Trent Williams and Brandon Aiyuk — are on the list for a second time. Williams, Aiyuk and tight end Daniel Helm landed on San Francisco’s coronavirus list Friday. They join Arik ArmsteadJavon Kinlaw, center Hroniss Grasu and linebacker Joe Walker. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 19

  • The Philadelphia Eagles announced that a player tested positive for COVID-19. The unnamed player and “close contacts” have been placed in self-isolation. According to Eagles reporter Geoff Mosher, wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is the player who tested positive, and the team has placed Arecega-Whiteside, John Hightower and Deontay Burnett on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Despite the positive test, Philadelphia’s game against the Cleveland Browns has not been rescheduled or canceled at this time, with the hope that an outbreak has been avoided and the team will be able to play on Sunday. Read more here.
  • Cowboys QB Andy Dalton tested positive for COVID-19 and missed losses to the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s opened up about the experience, saying, “The COVID, it hit me hard the first day I had it.” He added that he’s still getting his normal smell and taste back. Read more here.
  • The NFL approved a proposal to increase its 2020 playoff field to 16 teams, in the event COVID-19 prevents all 256 regular-season games from being played. But even that in-case-of-emergency plan encountered major dissenting voices among owners, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. This, and some opposition to the new CBA’s 14-team playoff field in league circles, points to the NFL not eyeing a future when half its teams make the playoffs annually. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 18

  • One Rams player has tested positive for COVID-19, per a club announcement. In accordance with league guidelines, the player has entered self-quarantine. The Rams say that the player is in quarantine “out of an abundance of caution” — a possible indication that he is asymptomatic or only mildly symptomatic. Meanwhile, the Rams will conduct all Wednesday activities virtually. Read more here.
  • Two days after the Browns temporarily closed their facility because a player tested positive for the coronavirus, Cleveland announced that starting right tackle Jack Conklin, placekicker Cody Parkey and long-snapper Charley Hughlett are going on the reserve/COVID-19 list as “high-risk close contacts.” Additionally, NFL sacks leader (9.5) Myles Garrett was sent home with an undisclosed illness. Updated health and safety guidelines for the season held amid the coronavirus pandemic mandate that personnel experiencing symptoms typical of COVID-19 infections must isolate away from team activities even if they test negative for the virus. Read more here.
  • NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a very specific memo to all teams on Wednesday saying they must go into intensive COVID-19 protocols for the remainder of the 2020 campaign. Read more here.
  • At least eight members of the Raiders’ starting defense will land on their reserve/COVID-19 list, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Some of Las Vegas’ non-starter contributors on defense will also surface on the COVID list soon. Read more here.
  • Broncos defensive coordinator Ed Donatell required hospitalization after contracting the coronavirus, according to the team. The second-year Denver DC was hospitalized last week but discharged Sunday, per Mike Klis of 9News. He remains away from the team, recovering at home. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 17

  • The New York Giants announced that a player has tested positive for COVID-19 and that two staff members have been identified as “high risk” close contacts with the unnamed player. Read more here.
  • Cowboys owner Jerry Jones remains committed to increasing the number of fans attending home games despite the increased number of coronavirus cases. “My plan was to increase our fans as we went through the season, and we followed that plan,” Jones said during an interview with 105.3 The Fan radio. “We’ve had almost a third of the attendance in the NFL. I’m proud of that. Our stadium is particularly suited for airiness, openness, air circulation…” Jones noted that there have been no reports of anyone contracting COVID-19 attending a Cowboys’ home game and insisted that the team would continue to ensure fan attendance would be handled “safely” and “smartly.” Read more here.
  • The Washington Football Team announced a player has tested positive for COVID-19 and that the player, along with several other players who have been in close contact, have entered self-isolation. Read more here.
  • Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones explained during his weekly segment on radio station 105.3 The Fan that the team is having coaches and staff members stay in a “bubble environment” at the Omni Hotel located next to the franchise’s practice facility. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 16

  • According to Chris Thomas of the Detroit Free Press, an emergency order issued Sunday by Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer prevents the Lions from having fans present on Thanksgiving when they host the Houston Texans. Detroit had previously been allowed to host 500 family members and friends at the team’s last two home games, including Sunday’s 30-27 win over the Washington Football Team. Read more here.
  • The Cleveland Browns had under 24 hours to truly appreciate improving to 6-3 on the season via a 10-7 home win over the Houston Texans. Cleveland confirmed that a player tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning. As a result, the club closed its facility and is conducting contact tracing. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 15

  • According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Saints are facing “significant discipline” for not wearing masks during their locker room celebration after their 38-3 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last weekend. Read more here.
  • The Bengals were without three defensive coaches for their Sunday game. Cincinnati announced ahead of game time that three defensive coaches have been ruled out for Sunday’s game due to COVID-related issues: linebackers coach Al Golden, secondary coach Steve Jackson and senior defensive assistant Mark Duffner. Read more here.
  • Vikings offensive lineman Dru Samia has tested positive for COVID-19, per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network. Contact tracing is being performed. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 14

  • Pittsburgh announced Saturday that it has activated Ben Roethlisberger from the reserve/COVID list. Linebacker Vince Williams, running back Jaylen Samuels and offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins also were removed from the reserve/COVID list. Read more here.
  • Buffalo announced Saturday that Josh Norman has tested positive for the coronavirus and will not be eligible to play this weekend. Three other players also were placed on the reserve/COVID list based on close contact with Norman — tight end Tyler Kroft, cornerback Levi Wallace and safety Dean Marlowe. Read more here.
  • It doesn’t seem like the United States will be returning to normalcy any time soon, so the New England Patriots decided to do something pretty cool for their team photo. The Patriots’ 2020 team photo shows every player and staff member wearing masks and standing six feet apart, stressing the importance of staying safe during this uncertain time. See the pic here.

NOVEMBER 12

  • The Ravens announced an unnamed player has entered self-quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19, making Baltimore the latest team to enter the NFL’s intensive COVID-19 protocol. Read more here.
  • The Dolphins may be without two key defenders against the Chargers on Sunday. The team placed Christian Wilkins and Kyle Van Noy on its reserve/COVID-19 list. Read more here.
  • The Raiders continue to run into issues with the coronavirus. They placed top tackler Cory Littleton on their reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 11

  • The Minnesota Vikings, who have allowed 250 people per contest to attend home games this season, are shutting down plans to host thousands of fans for their final four home games of the 2020 campaign at U.S. Bank Stadium. They’ll continue to limit attendance to 250 fans per game. Read more here.
  • ESPN’s Adam Schefter (h/t Adam Teicher) reported that the Chiefs want the league to start an inquiry with the union regarding a player representative holding a meeting with the entire Kansas City team in late October. The ESPN report comes on the same day that Mecole Hardman went on the reserve/COVID-19 list. It’s not yet known if Hardman tested positive for the virus. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 10

  • Aaron Rodgers was asked about the coronavirus guidelines during his weekly appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” Tuesday. The Green Bay Packers star emphasized that he is not trying to downplay the protocols, but he wonders how much of what the NFL is doing is based in science. Rodgers went into some specifics. He questioned why players are allowed to interact and shake hands after games but need plexiglass between lockers and can’t eat lunch together. The two-time NFL MVP feels some of the protocols are “definitely for the optics of it.” Read more here.
  • In the event that regular-season games with playoff implications are canceled and the league can’t complete its schedule in 17 or 18 weeks, the NFL will add an additional playoff team in each conference to limit the chances a team is unfairly left out of the postseason due to COVID-19 cancellations. This is only a contingency plan, and the current plan is still to proceed with seven playoff teams in each conference. As you’ll recall, this is the first year the playoffs have been expanded to seven teams from six. The proposal lays out a new seeding system based on winning percentage in the event that teams end up with different numbers of games played. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 7

  • The Ravens activated six players off their reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday: Patrick Queen, DeShon Elliott, L.J. Fort, Tyus Bowser, Terrell Bonds and linebacker Malik Harrison. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 6

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers have been fined $250,000 for not wearing masks while head coach Mike Tomlin was fined $100,000 for also not wearing his mask on the sideline against the Baltimore Ravens last weekend, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Read more here.
  • The Miami Dolphins confirmed on Friday that an assistant coach tested positive for COVID-19 and that the team is in the NFL’s intensive protocol. Despite concerns associated with the situation, the Dolphins still expect to travel and face the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon. Read more here.
  • The Packers placed linebacker Krys Barnes and rookie quarterback Jordan Love on the reserve/COVID-19 list. According to Rob Demovsky of ESPN, Barnes received a positive test result on Friday morning but is experiencing no symptoms. Love shares an apartment with Barnes and is deemed a “high-risk close contact.” Read more here.
  • The Las Vegas Raiders have been fined multiple times since the start of the season for breaches of the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols. Team owner Mark Davis is none too happy with the punishments, as he told ESPN’S Paul Gutierrez during a Friday interview that the fines are “draconian.” Read more here

NOVEMBER 5

  • Wisconsin is currently one of the biggest hot spots for COVID-19 surges in the country, and the Green Bay Packers are attempting to convince the state’s residents to take one of the simplest precautions to limit the coronavirus’ spread. On Thursday, the Packers placed masks on the statues of the franchise icons Curly Lambeau and Vince Lombardi located outside Lambeau Field as part of a #MaskUpWisconsin initiative. Read more here.
  • The Chiefs are the fourth team to announce Thursday that they have had a positive COVID-19 test, saying that a member of the staff has coronavirus. “The club was notified this morning that a staff member has tested positive for COVID-19,” the team said. “The individual is self-quarantining, under the team’s medical care, and contact tracing is taking place. The team is now in the NFL’s Intensive Protocol and working closely with the league and medical experts.” Read more here.
  • The Philadelphia Eagles confirmed that a player tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday morning. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports the player is safety Marcus Epps, who is asymptomatic. Read more here.
  • The Las Vegas Raiders have been punished by the NFL for COVID-19 protocol violations. The punishments include: Team fined $500,000, Jon Gruden fined $150,000, and team stripped of sixth-round draft pick. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 4

  • One day after reports surfaced that Denver Broncos general manager John Elway and CEO Joe Ellis tested positive for COVID-19, the club canceled practice after a practice squad player was added to the COVID-19/reserve list. ESPN’s Jeff Legwold reported that practice squad tackle Darrin Paulo tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday morning. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 3

  • Broncos general manager John Elway and CEO Joe Ellis have tested positive for coronavirus and are staying away from team facilities as they hope to recover. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the two “are confident the transmissions originated from outside the building,” which would hopefully mean none of the players or staff have contracted COVID-19 as well. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 2

  • It appears the NFL has a plan if future games are canceled because of issues related to the pandemic. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is reporting that the NFL competition committee will present a plan to owners that includes expanding the playoffs to 16 teams for the campaign if contests can’t occur due to outbreaks and subsequent quarantines. Four division champions would be joined in the postseason tournament by four wild-card squads. Top seeds would play No. 8 teams, No. 2 teams would play No. 7s, No. 3s would face No. 6s, and No. 4s would play against No. 5s. Read more here.
 

Golf

Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods recently participated in a charity golf match.
Mike Ehrmann-Handout Photo

The latest from the world of golf since competition resumed:

NOVEMBER 11

  • There is no guarantee that spectators will be welcomed to the 85th Masters scheduled for next April. “We would need to see objective data that would give us a high level of confidence that we could bring large numbers of people onto the grounds for April,” Augusta National and Masters chairman Fred Ridley told reporters on Wednesday, per Bob Harig of ESPN. “I think the vaccine — I don’t want to get into medical prognostications — but just logically as a layperson, the vaccine while it will be wonderful when it happens, there are all kinds of issues that point to beyond April (for the vaccine) as the silver bullet. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 9

  • Sergio Garcia announced he has tested positive for COVID-19. Garcia was driving home from the Houston Open on Saturday when he “started feeling a bit of a sore throat and a cough.” The 40-year-old still had a sore throat and a cough when he woke up on Sunday, so he and his wife Angela decided to get tested. While his wife tested negative, Garcia discovered that he had tested positive and, as a result, would miss the Masters. Read more here.

OCTOBER 21

  • The Houston Open held at Memorial Park Golf Course from Nov. 5-8 is the first PGA Tour event in the United States set to welcome fans since the coronavirus pandemic caused a break in play in March. Up to 2,000 spectators will be permitted to attend per day. But Phil Mickelson isn’t too keen on the idea with the first round of the Masters scheduled to get underway on Nov. 12, and he is considering skipping it. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 16

  • PGA Tour of Australasia Tournaments director Nick Dastey confirmed that the Australian PGA Championship has been postponed until at least February 2021 due to concerns related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 14

  • Englishman Sam Horsfield became the second player to withdraw from the upcoming U.S. Open due to a positive coronavirus test. The 23-year-old confirmed the news and explained he is asymptomatic via a statement he released on Twitter. Scottie Scheffler returned a positive at-home test and withdrew from the U.S. Open on Sunday. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 3

  • Professional golfer Kevin Kisner, who serves as a player director on the PGA Tour’s policy board, believes the Tour could begin welcoming fans to events in early 2021. Per Bob Harig of ESPN, Kisner updated the Tour’s stance regarding spectators on Thursday while speaking at East Lake Golf Club, home of the Tour Championship: “I think the start of the new year, we’ll probably transition into trying something.” Read more here.

JULY 19

  • Golf legend Jack Nicklaus revealed that he and his wife, Barbara, battled COVID-19 earlier this year, per Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker. Barbara did not experience symptoms, while the 80-year-old Nicklaus said he had a sore throat and a cough but was not symptomatic for very long. Read more here.
 

NASCAR

Kevin Harvick won the Real Heroes 400.
Brynn Anderson-Pool Photo

What’s the latest from the world of NASCAR:

AUGUST 15

  • Austin Dillon will not be competing in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway. Dillon has tested positive for the coronavirus, Richard Childress Racing announced Sunday. Read more here.

JULY 16

  • Over 20,000 fans were in attendance at Wednesday night’s NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway to watch fan-favorite Chase Elliott pull off another win. The event is believed to have the highest attendance of any sporting event in America since the pandemic began. Read more here.

JULY 10

  • Jimmie Johnson was forced to miss a race for the first time in his career following a positive coronavirus test, and he expressed his confusion with the whole situation, as he never had any symptoms and tested negative just three days later. “My first response was just anger. I started cussing and used every cuss word that I knew of and I think invented a few new ones,” Johnson said. “It was just so weird — the anger — because I’ve been asymptomatic. Anger hits. Read more here.

JUNE 30

 

NCAA athletics

NCAA president Mark Emmert
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Several conferences announced that fall sports are canceled, the biggest among them being the Big Ten and Pac-12. However, the B1G and Pac-12 reversed course and are playing fall football after all. Meanwhile, the ACC, SEC and Big 12 were always determined to play fall sports. Here is the fallout from the most recent news from the NCAA:

NOVEMBER 20

  • The COVID-19 outbreak within the Miami Hurricanes football program continues to generate headlines in the college football world. Miami coach Manny Diaz has confirmed that he tested positive for the coronavirus and is isolating. Read more here.
  • As part of the American Athletic Conference’s rescheduling of dates, Cincinnati-Tulsa has been moved to Dec. 12, one week before the conference’s title game. The schools originally were slated to play on Oct. 17 but had that game postponed to Dec. 4 due to positive COVID-19 test results and subsequent quarantines within Cincinnati’s program. New dates for five other contests were also announced. Read more here.
  • Washington State has confirmed that Saturday’s game vs. Stanford has been canceled due to positive COVID-19 cases and subsequent quarantines affecting the program. Because the Pac-12 didn’t add bye weeks for the pandemic-altered season and Washington State and Stanford don’t share an open date through Dec. 12, this game has been declared a no contest. Read more here.
  • The state of Pennsylvania and Gov. Tom Wolf have clarified an order that previously had members of the Virginia Tech Hokies and Pittsburgh Panthers believing they’d have to wear face coverings on the field during Saturday’s game held at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. According to Andrea Adelson of ESPN, football players in the state are exempt from wearing masks or other face coverings while actively competing because such gear “would likely create a medical issue.” Read more here.
  • The Minnesota Golden Gophers were without nearly the equivalent of an entire starting lineup for their game versus Purdue. According to Megan Ryan of the Star Tribune, 20 Minnesota players couldn’t suit up against Purdue because of positive COVID-19 tests, subsequent quarantines, and injuries. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 19

  • Maryland’s scheduled game against Michigan State on Saturday has been canceled due to the Terrapins having multiple positive COVID-19 tests, including Maryland coach Mike Locksley. The coach addressed his positive test, saying that he only had “minor symptoms” and would “continue to lead this program virtually.” Over the last seven days, Maryland has had 15 players and seven staff members test positive, making the Terps the latest college football team to try and salvage the season in the midst of an outbreak. Read more here.
  • Amid rising coronavirus cases and fears of schedule postponements and cancellations, the Pac-12 has loosened restrictions regarding which opponents football teams can play through the end of the season held amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference confirmed on Thursday that it has approved programs to schedule nonconference games. Read more here.
  • The DePaul Blue Demons men’s basketball team announced on Thursday that it is canceling its first three games of the season and temporarily pausing activities because of positive COVID-19 tests within the Tier 1 group and subsequent quarantines. Read more here.
  • The Albany Great Danes men’s basketball team announced multiple schedule changes because of a full-campus pause caused by rising COVID-19 cases. Albany’s season opener versus the Marist Red Foxes slated for Nov. 28 is now canceled. Additionally, the Great Danes won’t participate in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament at Mohegan Sun. Read more here.
  • Lou Holtz contracted COVID-19, but he is on the mend. The 83-year-old former college football coach is recovering from the virus, according to ABC Columbia’s Mike Gillespie. Holtz told Gillespie that he does not have a lot of energy. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 18

  • The South Florida Bulls confirmed that they won’t be able to play Navy this coming Saturday, as scheduled, because of positive COVID-19 tests and subsequent quarantines. It’s the third straight week the Midshipmen will be sidelined. Navy previously had games versus the Memphis Tigers and Tulsa Golden Hurricane scrapped due to a virus outbreak within the Naval Academy. Both programs are working with the American Athletic Conference to reschedule the contest. Read more here.
  • The Houston Cougars confirmed they won’t be able to travel to face the SMU Mustangs this weekend because of positive COVID-19 tests and subsequent quarantines. Houston and SMU are both working with the American Athletic Conference to possibly reschedule the game. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Sam Khan Jr. reports the Mustangs are attempting to add a nonconference opponent to the calendar for this weekend. Read more here.
  • The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, ranked No. 24 in the country, won’t host the Central Arkansas Bears on Saturday. Louisiana confirmed on Wednesday that its home finale has been canceled due to positive COVID-19 tests and subsequent quarantines. Thirty-three of the program’s student-athletes are in the coronavirus safety protocol as a result of contact tracing, isolations, quarantines and recovering cases. Read more here.
  • The Ohio State Buckeyes won’t welcome family members of players or coaches to Ohio Stadium for at least one weekend. As Tom VanHaaren wrote for ESPN, a stay-at-home order in Columbus sparked by rising COVID-19 cases in the area and state led to the university’s decision to ban family members from this Saturday’s game versus the Indiana Hoosiers. Read more here.
  • Colorado State coach Steve Addazio said Wednesday that he would be open to taking his team to play Colorado. Both teams had their respective games against UNLV and Arizona State called off due to positive COVID-19 tests among their opponents. Read more here.
  • Kansas confirmed on Wednesday that its football team can’t safely field a team this Saturday because of positive COVID-19 tests, contact tracing and injuries impacting a position group. Read more here.
  • Lila Bromberg of Yahoo Sports and others have confirmed that Maryland did not return to the practice field on Wednesday ahead of Saturday’s scheduled showdown with the Michigan State Spartans. Additionally, Andy Kostka of The Washington Times tweeted that the Terps haven’t practiced since Nov. 10. Read more here.
  • The UNLV Rebels confirmed on Wednesday that they won’t face the Colorado State Rams on Saturday because of positive COVID-19 tests and subsequent contact tracing. Colorado State, meanwhile, might still have a full dance card this weekend. As Kyle Bonagura noted for ESPN, a Thursday showdown involving Wyoming and the Utah State Aggies was also canceled, and the Mountain West could have Colorado State face Wyoming. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 17

  • Shortly after the South Carolina Gamecocks parted ways with head coach Will Muschamp, a key figure of the team’s defense also exited the program. Star cornerback Jaycee Horn, the son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn, confirmed on Twitter that he’s opting out of the remainder of the college season to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. Read more here.
  • Fellow South Carolina CB Israel Mukuamu confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that he is opting out of the remainder of the college football season to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft as well. Read more here.
  • Clemson Tigers star quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the presumed first pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, is back and ready to get to work. Lawrence has been cleared to return to action after he tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 29 and missed his team’s last two games. Read more here.
  • The Ole Miss Rebels men’s basketball team could be without its head coach for the first two games of the regular season, as Kermit Davis has tested positive for COVID-19. Read more here.
  • The Texas A&M men’s basketball team confirmed on Tuesday that it won’t be traveling for the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic in Sioux Falls, S.D. because of concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. Texas A&M will now host the New Orleans Privateers on Nov. 29 to start the campaign. The Aggies were originally scheduled to play the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Crossover Classic opener on Nov. 25. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 16

  • There have been rumblings for months that the 2021 NCAA Tournament could be held in a bubble-like environment, and those plans were confirmed on Monday. The NCAA announced that the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament will be held in a single geographic location. There were previously 13 sites that were going to host preliminary round games, but that number is being reduced to one “to enhance the safety and well-being of the event.” Read more here.
  • Louisville Cardinals running back Javian Hawkins has played his last down of collegiate football. The third-year sophomore confirmed via social media that he is opting out of the remainder of the season to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. Read more here.
  • Texas A&M confirmed on Monday that Saturday’s showdown with the Ole Miss Rebels has been postponed “due to the continued quarantine of individuals” within the football program. The Aggies had this past weekend’s game versus the Tennessee Volunteers scrapped because of positive coronavirus tests and subsequent quarantines. Read more here.
  • Syracuse basketball head coach Jim Boeheim announced on Sunday that he has tested positive for COVID-19, but he says he is asymptomatic. Read more here.
  • The Miami Hurricanes football program is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak that has led to the ACC changing a handful of league games. The ACC confirmed on Monday that additional testing and subsequent quarantines are sidelining Miami through the end of the month. See the new scheduling here.
  • Mike Leach has had a rough season in his first year at Mississippi State, and he thinks there is plenty of justification for that reality.  Leach’s 2-4 team has not improved much and has arguably regressed from the opener. So what’s going on? The 59-year-old coach says it is effectively “impossible” to get better with so many players out due to COVID-19 protocol. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 14

  • Iona Gaels coach Rick Pitino tweeted on Saturday that spiking and various protocols make it impossible to play basketball right now. He’s not wrong, and he made a suggestion that is reasonable. Pitino suggests that the Nov. 25 start date be pushed back and that “March Madness” be switched to “May Madness.” He also called for the elimination of all nonconference games. Read more here.
  • There’s a big obstacle to any talk about the College Football Playoff getting pushed back to accommodate extra games. Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman pointed out that any delay in the CFP significantly jeopardizes TV broadcast schedules. The reason? The NFL’s expanded playoffs would threaten to clash with the games. Read more here.
  • It was announced Saturday that the Heisman Trophy will be awarded virtually on Jan. 5, according to ESPN’s Andrea Adelson. The ceremony was pushed back from December as a result of the delay in some of the conference’s football schedules. Read more here.
  • ASU released a statement on Friday in which it said there were multiple positive tests among the football coaches and players over the last few days. ESPN’s Matt Barrie provided more information than that. He says that an entire side of the ball (offense or defense) has COVID. He says six staff members are positive and was told the situation is “really bad.” Read more here.

NOVEMBER 13

  • Saturday’s game between Arizona State and Cal has been canceled because the Sun Devils no longer have the minimum number of available scholarship players due to the coronavirus. Head coach Herm Edwards is among the people within the Arizona State organization to test positive for COVID-19. Multiple unnamed players also have tested positive. Read more here.
  • Furthermore, ESPN’s Matt Barrie tweeted about the outbreak within the Arizona State program on Friday afternoon and provided a bleak outlook for the Sun Devils’ showdown with the Colorado Buffaloes set for Nov. 21. Read more here.
  • The Pac-12 apologized to the Stanford football team on Friday after an inconclusive COVID-19 test made three players unavailable for the team’s season-opening 35-14 loss to the Oregon Ducks last weekend. Multiple players, including starting quarterback Davis Mills, were unable to play for the Cardinal. According to ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura, Mills was the player to return an inconclusive test. Read more here.
  • SEC presidents and chancellors have approved Dec. 19 as a make-up date for contests postponed due to coronavirus-related reasons even though the league title game occurs that same day. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 12

  • Urban Meyer and the rest of FOX’s “Big Noon Kickoff” crew were not on the air last week due to an unspecified issue related to COVID-19, and now we know what that issue was. Meyer, Rob Stone, Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart and Brady Quinn were taken off the air due to what FOX called an “abundance of caution.” In an interview with WBNS in Columbus, Ohio, this week, Meyer revealed that the decision was made by FOX after he tested positive for COVID-19. The former Ohio State coach said his daughter also had it but did not specify which daughter. Read more here.
  • The Seton Hall Pirates may not be cleared to begin their college basketball season on Nov. 25 as hoped. Via a statement shared by Jeff Borzello of ESPN, the Seton Hall men’s basketball team confirmed that it has temporarily paused team activities due to COVID-19 cases. It’s unknown how long Seton Hall players will isolate, but the timeline puts into question the state of the team’s games versus the Winthrop Eagles on Nov. 25 and against the Louisville Cardinals on Nov. 27. Read more here.
  • UConn Huskies men’s basketball coach Dan Hurley may delay the tipoff of his team’s season after a player tested positive for the coronavirus last week. UConn has suspended men’s basketball activities for two weeks. While UConn hoped to begin its season on Nov. 25, as permitted by the NCAA, and follow that with a game two days later, contracts for those contests aren’t yet official. Instead of competing then or during the Legends Classic in the first week of December, Hurley could choose to prepare his team for the Big East opener against the St. John’s Red Storm on Dec. 11. Read more here.
  • According to Josh Thomson of the Rockland/Westchester Journal News and an NJ Advance Media piece, the Iona men’s basketball team is pausing activities for two weeks after a Tier 1 individual tested positive for COVID-19. Read more here.
  • The Ivy League conference confirmed on Thursday that winter sports for the 2020-21 season, including basketball, have been canceled because of the health crisis. Additionally, fall sports campaigns that were postponed back in July won’t be held, and all spring sports are delayed through at least the end of February. Read more here.
  • Cal State Northridge announced on Thursday that its women’s basketball team won’t participate in the 2020-21 season after six players voluntarily opted out amid the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.
  • The Atlantic Coast Conference has confirmed that Saturday’s scheduled football game between the Pitt Panthers and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets has been postponed and rescheduled to Dec. 12 because of positive COVID-19 tests and subsequent quarantines affecting both programs. Read more here.
  • The Boise State Broncos saw 14 players ruled out for their Thursday night’s game against the Colorado State Rams due to COVID protocols, with nine of those players testing positive for the virus. Read more here.
  • There appears to be one significant remedy on the table for the College Football Playoff’s operations committee. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby sits on that committee, and he admitted Thursday that pushing the event back has been discussed. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 11

  • The SEC confirmed on Wednesday that the Georgia Bulldogs vs. Missouri Tigers contest won’t occur this weekend because of positive virus tests, contact tracing and subsequent quarantining of individuals within Missouri’s program. ESPN’s Heather Dinich added that Missouri reported one positive coronavirus test on Sunday, but contact tracing within a position group resulted in the team falling below the required number of student-athletes at that position. Read more here.
  • Maryland confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that Saturday’s game against the Ohio State Buckeyes has been canceled due to COVID-19 cases within the program and subsequent quarantines. The contest will not be rescheduled, and Maryland is temporarily pausing all team-related activities. Read more here.
  • The Stetson Hatters confirmed on Wednesday that their season opener against the Miami Hurricanes scheduled for Nov. 25 has been postponed due to a member of the men’s basketball team testing positive for COVID-19 and subsequent quarantines. Stetson personnel will isolate through the afternoon of Nov. 25. Both schools are open to rescheduling the game if they can locate a shared open date on their calendars. Read more here.
  • Four SEC football games scheduled for Saturday have been postponed due to COVID-19 cases. With teams running out of time to play makeups ahead of conference title games and the College Football Playoff that kicks off on Jan. 1, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey has admitted that the two-round postseason tournament might have to be pushed back. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 10

  • Some of the players on both sides got caught with fans around them when Notre Dame students rushed the field after the Irish defeated Clemson, making for a tough situation as teams try to avoid positive COVID-19 cases. What was it like from the perspective of Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book? He shared his thoughts during an interview with Scott Van Pelt on ESPN Monday night. Read more here.
  • The Minnesota Golden Gophers cannot stay clear of COVID-19 cases within their basketball programs. The Minnesota men’s basketball team announced on Tuesday that it is temporarily pausing activities due to at least one positive test. Marcus Fuller of the Star Tribune is reporting that multiple members of the school’s men’s and women’s basketball teams have tested positive for the virus. The women’s team paused workouts last week but returned to practice on Friday. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 9

  • Arkansas announced that head coach Sam Pittman tested positive for COVID Sunday and is currently self-isolating at his home. This makes the Razorbacks the latest college football program to have at least one coronavirus case. Pittman tested positive on Sunday and then was retested on Monday morning to confirm the positive result. Arkansas says that “all individuals who are considered close contacts have been notified and will enter quarantine guidelines.” Read more here.
  • LSU head coach Ed Orgeron announced that the team was experiencing a COVID outbreak. Orgeron would not disclose any details but confirmed that several players had tested positive and were now in quarantine. Read more here.
  • Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher announced the team suspended all activities due to one player and one student worker testing positive for COVID. Despite the possible outbreak, Fisher expressed confidence that the Aggies would be able to play their scheduled game against Tennessee. Read more here.
  • Michigan State announced Monday that basketball coach Tom Izzo tested positive for the coronavirus and is experiencing what he calls “mild symptoms.” Izzo said in a statement that he intends to follow the advice of the team medical staff with the aim of returning to practices as soon as possible. Read more here.
 

Tennis

Wimbledon was canceled for the first time in 75 years.
Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Here is what has happened most recently in the world of tennis:

OCTOBER 29

  • The French Tennis Federation confirmed on Thursday that fans will not be permitted to attend the Rolex Paris Masters held at Accor Arena from Oct. 31 through Nov. 8 due to the country’s latest lockdown caused by a spread of COVID-19 infections. Read more here.

OCTOBER 16

  • Professional tennis lost its most anticipated annual event when the 2020 Wimbledon Championships were canceled because of concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. That won’t happen again next year if the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (AELTC) has any say on the matter. The AELTC provided an update on plans for next year and explained that fans should expect some kind of comeback for the event scheduled to occur from June 28-July 11. Read more here.

OCTOBER 15

  • American tennis player Sam Querrey and his wife are accused of using a private plane to flee Russia after the couple tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of the St. Petersburg Open this week. Read more here.

OCTOBER 5

  • Tennis living legends Serena Williams and Roger Federer confirmed that they will participate in the 2021 Australian Open despite concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 30

  • Spaniard and former top-10 player Fernando Verdasco has told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser that he wants to sue the French Open over the alleged “false positive” coronavirus test result that caused him to be dropped from this year’s tournament. Read more here

SEPTEMBER 17

  • While the ATP St. Petersburg Open is still set to occur from Oct. 12-18, it was announced on Thursday that the ATP and WTA Kremlin Cup events scheduled to be held in Moscow have been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement shared by the WTA, the organization explained: “Cancellation of the ATP 250 event, scheduled to run from Oct. 19-25, and the WTA Premier event, from Oct. 26 to Nov. 1, follows a recent increase in the COVID-19 infection rate in Moscow.” Read more here.
 

Pro wrestling

This year’s WrestleMania still took place.
Kevin R. Wexler/NorthJersey.com-NorthJersey

Pro wrestling news over the past few weeks:

SEPTEMER 24

  • Back in March, Roman Reigns decided to opt out of WrestleMania 36 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During an appearance on “WWE After the Bell” with “SmackDown” announcer Corey Graves, Reigns explained his choice, saying that it was entirely based on keeping his family safe. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 2

  • Legendary wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson shared on Instagram that he, his wife, and his two baby daughters all tested positive for the coronavirus. The Rock says they got the virus from close family friends. He said overcoming the virus was harder than recovering from injuries he’s dealt with in the past. Read more here.

JULY 30

  • While professional sports commissioners and team owners frequently comment on financial losses amid the coronavirus pandemic, World Wrestling Entertainment enjoyed a fruitful second quarter of the economic year. Per Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, WWE claimed during a Thursday earnings report that the promotion generated $43.8 million in profits for Q2. Read more here.

JULY 20

  • WWE legend Ric Flair has informed the New York Post that Wendy Barlow, his wife, has tested positive for the coronavirus. “My wife does [have the virus]… we live in a 5,000-square-foot home,” Flair reportedly said. “I live in the basement. She lives upstairs on the third floor and she got sick.” Flair is considered high risk for the coronavirus because of his age and his medical history. Read more here.

JULY 6

  • PWInsider’s Mike Johnson reported that WWE relocated SummerSlam and the accompanying editions of “Raw” and “SmackDown” to its Performance Center because of the uncontrolled virus outbreak. The pay-per-view card will occur at the Florida site on Aug. 23. According to the Wrestling Observer, an NXT Takeover show is scheduled to air on the WWE Network on Aug. 22. Read more here.

JULY 2

  • Former WWE wrestler Kane now goes by another name: Mayor Glenn Jacobs, who is mayor of Knox County, Tennessee. The county’s board of health voted on an ordinance to make wearing masks mandatory for anyone who is inside certain buildings. The ordinance passed 7-1, with the lone “no” vote cast by Jacobs, according to Jack Baer of Yahoo Sports. Kane, of course, was known for wearing a mask during his WWE tenure. Interestingly, Jacobs does not believe in wearing masks during a pandemic. Read more here.

JUNE 26

  • John Pollock of Post Wrestling confirmed that WWE postponed taping for Monday’s “Raw” from Friday to Saturday, while the June 26 edition of “SmackDown” was still being produced live-to-tape as originally intended. As noted by Post Wrestling, on-air talents Renee Young and Kayla Braxton, along with Adam Pearce and Jamie Noble, all recently tested positive for the coronavirus. Read more here.

JUNE 24

  • At least three people within WWE have tested positive for COVID-19, including in-ring talent, according to Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer adds that WWE has known about the test results for about a week. On the AEW side, President and CEO Tony Khan tweeted that world champion Jon Moxley (known as Dean Ambrose in WWE) was off Wednesday’s “Dynamite” show after he was exposed to somebody with COVID-19. Read more here.

JUNE 17

JUNE 16

  • Professional wrestling and mixed martial arts journalist Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer reported that WWE postponed its taping schedule for Tuesday after a developmental performer tested positive for the coronavirus. Previously, the Observer noted that WWE executive Paul Levesque, known as “Triple H,” declined to directly answer if the promotion repeatedly tested performers and other personnel for the coronavirus. Read more here.
 

UFC

Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Dominick Cruz (blue gloves) during UFC 249.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

OCTOBER 24

  • Officials in Abu Dhabi are considering allowing fans on Fight Island to watch UFC fights in person in the near future. However, not just anyone will be allowed, and Dana White already is working on his VIP list, which includes The Rock and Demi Lovato. Read more here.

OCTOBER 16

  • Flyweight Cynthia Calvillo (9-1-1) has withdrawn from her Oct. 24 UFC 254 pay-per-view fight versus Lauren Murphy (13-4) after testing positive for COVID-19. Liliya Shakirova (8-1) will now make her official UFC debut on short notice and replace Calvillo to battle Murphy during the event held at the “Fight Island” site on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 15

  • An anticipated UFC light heavyweight match between Thiago Santos and Glover Teixeira will have to wait even longer if it is to happen, at all. MMA Fighting has confirmed that Santos recently tested positive for the coronavirus and has been ruled out for the Oct. 3 show. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 6

  • Former MMA fighter Gina Carano is tired of the coronavirus restrictions that remain in place around the United States. She ripped the elected officials who still have not allowed churches and businesses to open. Like many others, Carano believes some of the solutions to the pandemic have become worse than the problem. Read more here.

JULY 3

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov‘s father, Abdulmanap, died from coronavirus complications, according to Russian outlet RT.com. He was 57. Abdulmanap died from brain injuries caused by a stroke after fighting the virus, RT.com says. Read more here.
 

Boxing

The third installment of Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin will be postponed.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

What’s new in boxing:

OCTOBER 8

  • The unified welterweight title fight between champion Errol Spence Jr. and challenger Danny Garcia has been moved to Dec. 5 at AT&T Stadium, home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, in Arlington, Texas. The bout was originally planned for Nov. 21 at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, but promoters had placed holds on other venues with the hope that spectators could attend despite concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. Seats for the upcoming boxing event will be sold in “pods” to allow for social distancing. Attendees will be required to wear masks or other face coverings when not actively eating or drinking. Read more here.

JUNE 26

  • Boxing legend Roberto Durán has tested positive for the coronavirus after going to a hospital in Panama on Thursday with cold-like symptoms, he announced on Instagram. Read more here.

MAY 28

  • SI’s Chris Mannix reported the third installment of Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin will be postponed. The fight was originally scheduled for Sept. 12 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, but the promoters did not want the bout to go on unless fans can attend. Canelo won the first fight, but the second bout came to a draw. Read more here.
 

Summer Olympics

The 2020 Summer Games were pushed to 2021.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The latest from the IOC:

OCTOBER 3

  • With the NBA expecting the 2020-21 season to start this upcoming January at the earliest, the league’s players would likely not participate in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, per commissioner Adam Silver. The COVID-19 pandemic led to the 2020 Olympics to be postponed, thus casting doubt on NBA players being able to participate. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 8

  • Japanese Games Minister Seiko Hashimoto voiced a sense of urgency about the Olympics happening next year, saying that they should not be postponed again “at any cost.” Read more here.
  • Olympic great Kerri Walsh Jennings is drawing attention for two recent posts on Instagram. The first post advocated for people to get back to life and improve their health to best combat the virus. The part of her post that irritated many readers was when she said she went shopping without a mask. After receiving many complaints about her post, Walsh Jennings posted on the subject a day later. In the second post, Walsh Jennings posted an image saying she was looking for a “truce.” Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 7

  • Senior IOC official John Coates said the 2021 Olympics “will take place with or without COVID.” Read more here.

AUGUST 25

  • Eight-time Olympic gold medalist and world-record sprinter Usain Bolt celebrated his 34th birthday, which occurred on Aug. 21, with a party that reportedly included visitors not wearing masks despite concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. Jamaica’s health ministry confirmed that the charismatic multi-sport athlete tested positive for COVID-19. Read more here.

JULY 21

  • The Kyodo news agency released a poll last week that showed just how little support the Olympics currently have in Japan, with only 23.9% of Japanese citizens polled supporting the Olympics being in Tokyo next summer. Meanwhile, 36.4% said they believed the Olympics need to be delayed again, and 34% said they would support the event being canceled altogether. Read more here.

JULY 11

  • Team USA basketball coach Gregg Popovich had some encouraging words about the Olympics taking place next summer. Per the Associated Press’ Tim Reynolds, Pop cited Japan’s successful response to the pandemic for why he’s optimistic the Olympics can take place in Tokyo in 2021. Read more here.

JUNE 30

  • The International Olympic Committee says it will provide added support services to athletes worldwide through Athlete365, as an added layer to help them with the challenges that have arisen amid the coronavirus pandemic and the postponement of this year’s games.

MAY 20

  • IOC president Thomas Bach said, “You cannot have the athletes being in uncertainty,” according to the BBC.

APRIL 28

  • Tokyo Games president Yoshiro Mori said these Olympics would be canceled entirely if they can’t take place on the new date. Read more here.

MARCH 29

  • The 2020 Summer Games were set to take place in Tokyo July 24 through Aug. 9 but now are tentatively scheduled for July 23 through Aug. 8, 2021. The sad truth is that no one knows what the world will look like a year from now and whether the games can take place then either. Read more here.
 

MLS, NWSL

MLS and NWSL continue to be on hold.
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

MLS and NWSL most recent developments:

NOVEMBER 20

  • Friday night’s Inter Miami at Nashville SC MLS Cup playoff game is still on, as scheduled, despite Miami dealing with worrisome COVID-19 issues. Michelle Kaufman of the Miami Herald was the first to report that Miami starters Gonzalo Higuain and Gonzalez Pirez, along with Gonzalo’s brother Federico Higuain, tested positive for the virus and didn’t travel to Nashville for the postseason fixture. Two reserve players who wouldn’t have been in the Miami squad for Friday’s contest also tested positive. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 18

  • MLS playoff protocols allow for the rescheduling of postseason games if a virus outbreak affects one or both teams involved. With the MLS Cup slated for Dec. 12 and the league looking to begin the 2021 campaign in early March because of calendar congestion caused by multiple international tournaments and dates, teams could be bounced from the league playoffs if sidelined indefinitely due to COVID-19 issues. In such scenarios, the club battling the outbreak and subsequent quarantines will forfeit. If both teams aren’t cleared to play during a playoff round, though, the club with the higher regular-season points-per-game average will go through. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 13

  • Despite concerns related to the worsening health crisis, MLS is aiming for its typical turnaround before the start of the upcoming season. In a statement shared by Jeff Carlisle of ESPN, MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott said the plan is to start the 2021 campaign in early March due to schedule congestion caused by multiple international tournaments and dates. “Based on the crowded international calendar next year, we are targeting to start our season in early March as usual,” Abbott explained. It’s believed clubs will host matches in-market as they did following the MLS is Back tournament. Read more here.

OCTOBER 29

  • As had been expected throughout October, Major League Soccer announced on Thursday that the North American top-flight is going to a points-per-game system to determine playoff places and seedings for the season held amid the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 11

  • Much like MLB’s Toronto Blue Jays, Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC isn’t playing their home games in Canada this season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Toronto FC announced Friday that their upcoming home game against Columbus Crew SC on Sunday will be played at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. Read more here.
 

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International soccer

International soccer

Some soccer leagues overseas have resumed play, albeit in empty stadiums.
Ulrich Hufnagel/Xinhua/Sipa USA

Most recent news from international soccer circles:

NOVEMBER 16

  • In a statement translated by a report from Alex Kirkland of ESPN, the Uruguayan Football Association confirmed that Luis Suarez tested positive for COVID-19 during the current international break. “The Uruguayan football association reports that swab tests have been performed on all members of the National Team, and the players Luis Suarez and Rodrigo Munoz and team official Matias Faral have tested positive for COVID-19, while the other members of the party have tested negative,” the AUF explained. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 13

  • Liverpool striker Mo Salah won’t be competing in any matches anytime soon. The Egyptian Football Association confirmed Friday that Salah has tested positive for the coronavirus while on international duty, preparing to face Togo in the African Cup of Nations qualifiers on Saturday. They have since deleted the tweet, posting a new one saying: “The laboratories of the Ministry of Health have indicated that three players from the Egyptian and Togo teams have tested positive before the match between the two teams tomorrow.” Read more here.

NOVEMBER 2

  • Dutch Eredivisie side Ajax will be without 11 players for Tuesday’s Champions League match at Midtjylland after they tested positive for COVID-19. Read more here.

OCTOBER 30

  • Italian Serie A giants Juventus confirmed on Friday that superstar Cristiano Ronaldo tested negative for COVID-19 nearly three weeks after he tested positive for the virus while on international duty with Portugal. “The exam provided a negative result,” Juventus explained of Ronaldo’s latest diagnostic test. “The player has, therefore, recovered after 19 days and is no longer subjected to home isolation.” Read more here.

OCTOBER 28

  • The German Bundesliga has been ordered back behind closed doors by chancellor Angela Merkel and the 16 heads of the German federal states because of COVID-19 outbreaks throughout the country. Fans will be banned from attending matches from Nov. 2 through at least the end of the month. Supporters are permitted to attend games, at reduced capacities, through the upcoming weekend. Read more here.

OCTOBER 26

  • Hours before AC Milan were scheduled to face Roma in a Monday Serie A clash, Milan confirmed that goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and winger Jens Petter Hauge tested positive for the coronavirus. Three staff members also tested positive and were placed in isolation. Read more here.

OCTOBER 14

  • Juventus announced that United States Men’s National Team midfielder Weston McKennie tested positive for COVID-19. The 22-year-old returned a positive result one day after superstar Cristiano Ronaldo tested positive while with Portugal on international duty. Read more here.

OCTOBER 13

  • Cristiano Ronaldo has become the latest major athlete to test positive for the coronavirus, as the Portuguese Football Federation announced that the superstar striker has officially started self-isolating following the positive test. Read more here.

OCTOBER 9

  • AC Milan forward and outspoken showman Zlatan Ibrahimovic should be cleared to play in the Oct. 17 derby versus Inter Milan after apparently recovering from the coronavirus. Ibrahimovic generated headlines on Sept. 24 when he tweeted that he’d tested positive for the virus. Read more here.

OCTOBER 7

  • Antonin Panenka, who has his name linked with one of the most well-known penalty techniques in world football, has been hospitalized and placed in intensive care after contracting COVID-19, as Reuters (h/t ESPN) explained. Read more here.

OCTOBER 5

  • The Premier League confirmed on Monday that nine players and club staff members tested positive for the coronavirus between Sept. 28 and Oct. 4. In total, 1,587 players and staff were tested over the week. All who returned positive results must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days. Read more here.

OCTOBER 2

  • Scottish Premiership club Kilmarnock announced that their Friday match against Motherwell has been postponed because of a coronavirus outbreak. At least six Kilmarnock players have tested positive for the virus this week as of Friday afternoon. All first-team footballers were told to self-isolate until Oct. 14. Read more here.
  • Reigning English Premier League champions Liverpool confirmed that forward Sadio Mane has tested positive for COVID-19. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 29

  • Liverpool confirmed  that new club midfielder Thiago Alcantara tested positive for COVID-19 and is self-isolating. The 29-year-old joined the reigning Premier League champions from Bundesliga winners Bayern Munich on Sept. 18. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 28

  • The English Premier League confirmed on Monday that 10 players and club staff members tested positive for the coronavirus from Sept. 21-27. All individuals who return a positive test must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 24

  • AC Milan announced that striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has tested positive for coronavirus and has been placed in quarantine as he recovers. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 22

  • Shortly after West Ham United kicked off Tuesday’s Carabao Cup match versus Hull City, the club confirmed that manager David Moyes, defender Issa Diop and midfielder Josh Cullen tested positive for COVID-19 and were sent home from London Stadium before the fixture. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 21

  • English League Two side Leyton Orient could be forced to forfeit Tuesday’s scheduled Carabao Cup match versus Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur due to what the  club described as “a number of first-team squad” players testing positive for the coronavirus. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 17

  • The Bundesliga is set to open Friday with a match between Bayern Munich and Schalke, but the game will not be played in front of fans due to concerns about rising coronavirus infection rates in Munich. Over the past week, Munich has seen its average number of infections per 100,000 jump from 34 to 47.6, a significant enough rise for officials decide to not allow fans at Friday’s game. Read more here.
  • English Championship side Middlesbrough announced that manager Neil Warnock has tested positive for the coronavirus and will miss at least this coming Saturday’s match versus Bournemouth. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 10

  • Serie A side Napoli confirmed on Thursday that club president Aurelio De Laurentiis has tested positive for the coronavirus. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 8

  • England’s Mason Greenwood offered an apology after he and Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden were dropped from the national team because they violated health and safety protocols following a 1-0 win over Iceland on Saturday. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 7

  • England manager Gareth Southgate has dropped  Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood and Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden from the national team after the pair violated coronavirus-related health and safety protocols. Greenwood and Foden reportedly brought women back to their Reykjavik hotel following Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Iceland. Southgate removed the players from his squad before the Three Lions boarded a flight to Copenhagen for Tuesday’s Nations League match versus Denmark. Read more here.
  • Foden apologized after he and Greenwood were sent home for violating health and safety protocols following the team’s 1-0 win over Iceland on Saturday. Read more here.
  • English Premier League side Manchester City confirmed that winger Riyad Mahrez and defender Aymeric Laporte tested positive for the coronavirus. Read more here.
  • The French national team has taken a huge hit to the lineup. Kylian Mbappe won’t play in their UEFA Nations League match against Croatia on Tuesday. France announced Monday that Mbappe tested positive for the coronavirus and currently is in isolation. However, he’s not experiencing any symptoms. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 3

  • Neymar wasn’t the only PSG player to contract COVID-19. Three soccer players on Paris Saint-Germain have tested positive. According to ESPN, joining Neymar are Angel Di Maria and Leandro Paredes. All three players were recently seen on a holiday together on the Spanish island of Ibiza. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 2

  • Paris Saint-Germain will be without one of their biggest stars for their season opener on Sept. 10 against Lens. According to ESPN’s Julien Laurens, Neymar has tested positive for the coronavirus after vacationing in Ibiza. He received the test results on Wednesday morning and is set to be retested. Read more here.

AUGUST 27

  • Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has been removed from France’s lineup after testing positive for the coronavirus. France manager Didier Deschamps said that Eduardo Camavinga would replace Pogba for the team’s scheduled matches against Sweden and Croatia next month. Read more here.

AUGUST 20

  • Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail is reporting that Tottenham Hotspur and England superstar striker Harry Kane missed the start of the club’s preseason training sessions because he was made to quarantine for 14 days following a holiday in the Bahamas with his family. Read more here.

AUGUST 14

AUGUST 10

  • Atletico Madrid  confirmed on Monday that members of the club’s traveling party tested negative for the coronavirus and will fly to Portugal on Tuesday for Thursday’s Champions League quarterfinal showdown versus Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig. Angel Correa and Sime Vrsaljko both tested positive over the weekend. The two players are asymptomatic and self-isolating. Read more here.

AUGUST 3

  • The Italian Serie A will begin the 2020-21 campaign on Sept. 19, one week later that originally scheduled and a week after the English Premier League intends to start its season. The league also says it has shortened the annual Christmas break and scheduled fixtures for Jan. 3 and Jan. 6. It’s unknown if fans will be able to attend. Read more here.

JULY 24

  • The 2020-21 EPL season will begin on Sept. 12, the league announced. The current season will end on July 26, and teams who aren’t competing in European competition will have nearly two months to prepare for the campaign. Read more here.

JULY 20

  • According to ESPN, the Ballon d’Or has been canceled for the first time in the award’s history due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the soccer calendar. Group L’Equipe, the organizers of the award, announced that the conditions for the prize to be awarded had not taken place due to the pandemic. Read more here.

JULY 15

  • The International Football Association Board will allow leagues to expand the rule permitting clubs five substitutions per game instead of the standard three replacements through the end of upcoming 2020-21 campaigns. Read more here.

JULY 10

  • According to ESPN, soccer in the Netherlands will resume on Sept. 15 with 15 percent to 35 percent of stadiums available for spectators. No away supporters will be allowed, however. Spectators will need to remain about five feet apart, bring masks and buy drinks from roaming sellers rather than waiting in line at kiosks. Read more here.

JULY 1

  • Wigan became the first professional English side to enter into administration amid the coronavirus pandemic. Lack of funding from the side’s new owners as well a financial burden placed on clubs since the pandemic started played a part, per BBC, which notes that other clubs might be in the same position soon. Read more here.
 

WNBA

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

WNBA’s latest developments:

OCTOBER 7

  • The WNBA was able to complete its season, with the Breanna Stewart-led Seattle Storm beating the Las Vegas Aces in the Finals. Read more here.
 

16 of 18

International baseball

International baseball

While MLB remains on hold, baseball has resumed overseas.
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

What has happened in international baseball:

JULY 8

  • During a recent game against the Rakuten Eagles, the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks employed 20 dancing robots to liven things up. The two kinds of robots, SoftBank’s humanoid robot ‘Pepper’ and others on four legs, engaged in a choreographed dance to the team’s fight song. Read more here.

JULY 1

  • The Mexican Baseball League has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 season, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN). The league’s clubs earn the majority of their revenues from gate sales and in-person purchases. Sporting events throughout Mexico currently can only occur behind closed doors and without spectators. The season was scheduled to start Aug. 7. Read more here.
 

eSports

eSports has thrived under lockdown during the pandemic.
The Commercial Appeal-Imagn Content Services, LLC

esports carries on:

MAY 19

  • Esports’ popularity has experienced an uptick on both sides of the remote, as CNBC’s Bob Woods reported on May 19 that streaming website Twitch experienced a “23% surge in viewership in March,” coinciding with the time frame when much of the country started to stay home.

MAY 4

  • While the pandemic is having a negative effect on the sports world, it’s been business as usual for esports and gaming. Participants can easily play while maintaining social distancing guidelines since gaming takes place online. In fact, esports has been flourishing. Texas A&M head esports coach Travis Yang told KSAT.com that there has been a “noticeable increase” in gamers and tournaments as people were forced to stay at home.
 

One-off events

The Boston Marathon was canceled for the first time in 124 years.
Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Most recent developments among other sports:

AUGUST 21

  • After hoping to allow a decreased percentage of spectators to the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs Incorporated announced on Friday afternoon that no fans will be welcomed to the event postponed from May 2 to Sept. 5 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.

AUGUST 4

  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway has once again reversed course and declared that the Indianapolis 500 held on Aug. 23 will occur without fans in the stands due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.

JULY 1

  • The 2020 Mexico City Marathon announced that the race scheduled for Aug. 30 is canceled. According to Mexico News Daily, the event drew roughly 30,000 runners last year. Read more here.

JUNE 26

  • The Indianapolis 500, set for Aug. 23, became the latest American sporting event to welcome fans amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles confirmed the news, stating, “We will be limiting attendance to approximately 50 percent of venue capacity.” Per Shanna McCarriston of CBS Sports, Indianapolis Motor Speedway carries a capacity of around 235,000. The official announcement also explained that individuals who do not wish to attend, such as those considered high-risk, will receive credits. Safety items such as masks and hand sanitizer will be distributed to all race attendees. Read more here.

JUNE 24

  • The world’s largest marathon in New York City has officially been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Jackie Salo of the New York Post. The five-borough race, which hosts more than 50,000 runners from across the globe, would’ve celebrated its 50th anniversary on Nov. 1. It is now set to take place on Nov. 7, 2021. Read more here.

JUNE 23

  • The Haspa Marathon Hamburg, which was postponed from April, is set to occur on Sept. 13. The race is expecting 10,000 to 14,000 runners. However, Americans might not be among thm. Action Network’s Darren Rovell reported that runners from “higher-risk COVID areas” will not be allowed to participate. A higher-risk area could include the United States. Read more here.

JUNE 13

  • Approximately 20,000 rugby fans in New Zealand packed the stands to watch the Otago Highlanders take on the Waikato Chiefs in the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition. New Zealand lifted nearly all of its coronavirus restrictions earlier in the week, as no new cases have been reported for more than 20 days and the death toll is at just 22 in the country since the pandemic started. Read more here.

MAY 28

  • The Boston Marathon, originally scheduled for April 20 but postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic, was canceled and converted into a virtual experience. It’s the first time in 124 years the Marathon won’t run. Read more here.



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