COVID-19 strikes the world of sports; AU spring seasons end early

The AU spring athletics teams have seen their season come to an end. (photo by Augusta University Athletics)

By Carlos Rodriguez |
Sports writer

The past couple of days, the sports world has been struck with devastating news from many sports leagues due to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Here’s a timeline of some events that occurred.

On Wednesday afternoon, March 11, the Golden State Warriors made an announcement that would be a start of just a bizarre day. The Warriors announced they would not allow fans to attend Thursday’s night game against the Brooklyn Nets, which was eventually cancelled, and all events held at the Chase Center through March 21 will be held without fans.

A few hours later, the Ivy League, an NCAA Division I athletic conference, announced the cancellation of all spring athletics practice and competition. On March 10, a day before this announcement, they cancelled the conference basketball tournament.

Of course, many athletes were furious with the actions taken by the Ivy League. Harvard distance track runners Abbe Goldstein, Anna Juul and Kieran Tuntivate had all qualified for the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships that was set to take place this weekend, March 13-14, in Albuquerque, N.M., at the Albuquerque Convention Center. These athletes were about to leave campus to head to the airport, but 10 minutes before leaving they were told they were not allowed to travel and were scratched off from their events.

Over an hour later, the NCAA announced that the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be held without fans. The following day, athletic conferences from all over the country were cancelling their conference basketball tournaments. Soon after, the NCAA announced that both men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournament was cancelled.

It was also announced that NCAA President Mark Emmert and the board of governors also cancelled all remaining winter and spring championships.

Wednesday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder were set to host the Utah Jazz. Right before tipoff, the Thunder’s team doctor Donnie Strack rushed out to speak with the referees. It was announced that Jazz center Rudy Gobert had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Gobert wasn’t in attendance for the game but both teams were sent to their locker rooms to be quarantined. Gobert’s teammate Donovan Mitchell tested positive the following day and was the only other member from the Jazz that tested positive.

The game was called off followed by other NBA games that night being cancelled. This led to the NBA announcing the suspension of the league. Commissioner Adam Silver wrote a letter saying the suspension will last at least 30 days but could potentially last longer.

Other leagues have made moves as well. The MLB, which is in spring training, has cancelled the remainder of their spring training games. Opening day was also delayed for two weeks. The NHL announced it will pause its season and has not made it clear how long the pause will last. MLS announced they will suspend their season for 30 days.

One of the biggest news that really affects the Augusta community was announced this morning. The Augusta National announced The Masters Tournament being postponed. Every year the city makes significant revenue off this prestigious tournament. The PGA Tour also cancelled The Players Championship and upcoming tour events.

With all this being said, the Peach Belt Conference board of directors confirmed that all competition for the remainder of the 2019-20 season has been cancelled. Therefore, there will be no more athletic events for Augusta University.

The NCAA did announce that seniors on spring sports teams would receive an extra year of eligibility.


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