The global outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has resulted in thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of cases worldwide. As of Tuesday, March 10, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 647 reported cases and 25 deaths in the U.S. alone.
Check below for the latest updates regarding coronavirus and the way it’s affecting the sports world, particularly as it relates to New England. Both professional and college sports leagues are implementing or considering drastic measures to help slow the spread of the disease.
Friday, March 13, 2:15 p.m.
The Patriots have joined teams across the NFL in implementing their own measures to limit travel among their staff amid fears of spreading the coronavirus. Per Albert Breer of The MMQB, they have pulled coaches and scouts from traveling as part of their draft prep. Every other team in the league is taking some sort of measure. Only the 49ers, Bears, Eagles, and Falcons have closed their facilities entirely so far.
Friday, March 13, 10:15 a.m.
Boston mayor Marty Walsh announced the Boston Marathon will be moved to Monday, September 14. The weekend will feature an initiative to support local businesses affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. It’s the first time in the 124-year history of the Marathon that it won’t be run on the third Monday of April. Governor Charlie Baker said he expects to sign a bill in coming days making the day a state holiday, as April 20 would have been.
Thursday, March 12, 3:53 p.m.
According to Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald, the Patriots have not banned scouts from traveling to Pro Days or other pre-draft events. But they are considering cancellation of pre-draft visits to their facilities, which the league is reportedly leaving in the hands of the teams.
The league has already cancelled its spring owners meeting scheduled for March 29-April 1. However, they are reportedly going to hold meetings remotely in lieu of convening in person.
Thursday, March 12, 3:10 p.m.
Following a call between MLB teams and the commissioners office, the league is going forward with a number of scheduling changes in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. ESPN’s Jeff Passan was the first to report the news Thursday afternoon.
Spring Training will be suspended, with the suspension officially going into effect as early as Thursday night. In addition to suspending Spring Training, the league will likely push back Opening Day and delay the start of the season. According to Passan, that step is “a formality that ownership-level sources expect to happen.”
Thursday, March 12, 1:58 p.m.
The NFL is proceeding with business as usual as far as free agency and the start of the league year, which is still on for an official kickoff date/time of Wednesday, March 18 at 4 p.m. There are conflicting reports, however, about how coronavirus will affect preparation for the NFL Draft. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the league is not cancelling all pre-draft facility visits for draft prospects but instead leaving that decision to the discretion of the Patriots and the 31 other teams.
Thursday, March 12, 11:42 a.m.
Major League Soccer suspended its season Thursday morning due to Coronavirus concerns, according to multiple reports. The 2020 season, the league’s 20th, began just two weeks ago. Two MLS teams were in action as recently as Wednesday, with New York City and Atlanta FC taking part in separate CONCACAF Champions League Matches. The New England Revolution, who were scheduled to play in Foxborough on Sunday, released the following statement:
Wednesday, March 11, 9:31 p.m.
The NBA suspended play Wednesday night following a positive Coronavirus test from Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert. The Jazz’s matchup with the Thunder was postponed moments before the opening tip, with the league announcing shortly after that no games will be played for the foreseeable future while they assess the next steps.
Wednesday, March 11, 3:15 p.m.
The Ivy League announced that it is cancelling all sporting events through the remainder of the spring. It’s a logical conclusion after Harvard, among other schools, announced that it would transition to remote learning after students return from spring break. Students are being ordered to either stay away from campus upon returning or move out of their campus housing by certain dates.
Wednesday, March 11, 2:50 p.m.
According to veteran hockey reporter Mark Divver, Harvard has cancelled the rest of its ice hockey season. This comes in the middle of the ECAC championship tournament, which for now is still on. A report from College Hockey News indicates that the whole tourney could be in jeopardy.
Tuesday, March 10, 3:23 p.m.
Harvard and Smith College are joining Amherst in their decisions to transition to remote classes amid fears of overpopulating their campuses and further spreading coronavirus. Harvard has asked all students to move out of their on-campus housing by Sunday, March 15. Smith will stop in-person classes after Friday, March 13 and give students the following week to move out of their housing. Students and staff at Harvard and Smith should click the links to get complete information on the schools’ plans.
Tuesday, March 10, 3:10 p.m.
Via Anna Orso of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly city officials have recommended people do not attend gatherings of more than 5,000 people. The Wells Fargo Center, where the Bruins play the Flyers Tuesday night, can hold nearly 20,000 fans. There’s a chance the B’s and Flyers play in front of an empty or nearly empty arena.
Tuesday, March 10, 12:30 p.m.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh spoke to reporters on Tuesday with his latest updates on how the threat of coronavirus may impact upcoming large public events in the city. Here’s a summary:
- City and building management are in regular contact about any measures taken by TD Garden as it relates to upcoming live events. The plan for now is for the city to defer to leagues on their decisions regarding crowd situations.
- The Boston Marathon is described as a “fluid situation” and they’re studying how other cities are handling their own marathons for now. Walsh would rather postpone the event than cancel it entirely, but that would also be a major undertaking.
- Walsh spoke with Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy. For now the city will defer to the team and MLB on how they will handle the home opener, which is scheduled for Thursday, April 2 at Fenway Park.
- The city is “preparing for the inevitable” as far as a possible shutdown of the city.
Tuesday, March 10, 11:19 a.m.
According to college basketball insider Jon Rothstein, the Ivy League has cancelled its men’s & women’s conference championship basketball tournaments amid coronavirus fears. The two regular season champions, Yale (men) and Princeton (women), will be automatically rewarded with the league’s spot in the NCAA tournament.
Tuesday, March 10, 8:29 a.m.
Celtics TV play-by-play man Mike Gorman told Toucher & Rich that there’s been “lots” of discussion about stopping team broadcast crews from traveling for road games. In the case of the C’s, they would broadcast the home feed of their opponent while Gorman and his broadcast partner would call games remotely from Boston based on that.
The full interview begins at the 12:18 mark.
Monday, March 9, 8:10 p.m.
Amherst College president Biddy Martin announced in a video that students are to stay home and not return to the school following spring break. Among many other steps taken, the school is transitioning to remote learning starting Monday, March 23.
Monday, March 9, 5:42 p.m.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst, the NBA is “planning” to limit locker room access only to players and essential team personnel. Media access would only take place outside the locker rooms and require 6-8 feet between reporters and interviewees.
Monday, March 9, 1:10 p.m.
The NHL is reportedly considering new league-wide measures to ban media access to locker rooms amid coronavirus fears. However, as of Monday, the Boston Bruins practiced at Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Mass. and conducted their usual media access procedures.