What a difference a week makes.
Just one Sunday ago, the nation was concerned about COVID-19. However, life for the average sports fan wasn’t different from any other spring. Sporting events were still a go. Bets were rolling in for the NCAA tournament. The NBA was in full swing. The Ivy League canceled its postseason tournaments, but there weren’t any other definitive signs that doom was approaching.
And then, within days, everything changed.
Phase one: A worrisome Wednesday
On Wednesday, the NBA announced it would suspend its season after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID. That decision, coupled with the revelation that the White House was shutting down flights from Europe, served as a sobering wake-up call.
The two announcements sent most sports fans to bed wondering what was next in what seemed to be an inevitable tumble of all sorts of dominoes.
Phase two: Black Thursday
The day after the NBA suspended its season, the NCAA announced it chose to cancel its postseason tournament. If the NBA’s suspension served as a knock on the door of sports fans across the country, March Madness’s demise broke down the door and made it clear life would not be the same.
The NCAA’s official statement about the cancellation started off as surreal as it was terse.
“Today, NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors canceled the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships.”
But the NCAA’s announcement was one of many dominoes to fall this past Thursday. Within hours, the following leagues announced they were suspending or shutting down:
- NHL: Indefinitely suspended
- MLB: Spring training canceled, opening day delayed
- PGA Tour: The Players Championship (TPC) and subsequent events suspended
- MLS: Season suspended
- XFL: Season canceled
- UEFA Champions League: Suspended
Friday: More cancellations
By Friday, it’s safe to say the sports world and its fans were in shock. The NBA: gone. The NHL: Gone. TPC: Gone. MLB’s spring training was nixed and Opening Day was on the ropes.
And then Friday happened.
While the closures weren’t as numerous as Thursday’s hurricane of suspensions and cancellations, it was arguably just as significant on a global scale.
Four European soccer leagues suspended their seasons. Among them, the fabled English Premier League, who chose to suspend matches until further notice:
“The FA, Premier League, EFL and women’s professional game, together with the PFA and LMA, understand we are in unprecedented times and our thoughts are with everyone affected by COVID-19. We are united in our commitment to finding ways of resuming the 2019/20 football season and ensuring all domestic and European club league and cup matches are played as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.”
Another Friday casualty: NASCAR announced it canceled its Atlanta and Miami races. The racing body said they chose to cancel the events at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway to protect the “best interest of the safety and well-being of our fans, competitors, officials and everyone associated with our sport.”
While NASCAR has not announced plans to terminate the season, it’s likely a major announcement will come soon based on decisions by other leagues.
Saturday: Indiana casinos close
To top off an unprecedented week, the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) announced all Indiana casinos would close for at least 14 days.
The IGC’s announcement came three days after Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered all nonessential businesses to close. His order included casinos. At some point in the next week, there should be an official announcement from Las Vegas casinos regarding their closure.