HOUSTON – As coronavirus concerns continue to grow around the country and the globe, here are some of the updates about how major sporting events are handling it.
University of Houston baseball team asked to self-quarantine
The University of Houston is requiring all members of the baseball team, coaches and support staff to self-quarantine after a baseball staff member developed symptoms consistent with the COVID-19 following a team trip to Las Vegas just prior to the University suspending the season. The individual is currently being tested for COVID-19 and the pre-cautionary self-quarantine will last while UH awaits test results, which could take from 48 to 72 hours.
At this time, no other baseball student-athletes, coaches or staff appear to have developed symptoms.
In order to limit the opportunity for transmission and prioritize the safety of our student-athletes, UH Athletics has taken the following additional actions:
- On March 12, UH immediately suspended all Spring sports competition
- A no-practice, no-workouts moratorium is extended through Sunday, March 22 to limit student-athletes from group settings and/or occupying common areas such as weight rooms and the academic center.
- The staff has deactivated student-athlete electronic access to UH athletic facilities in an effort to mitigate unauthorized/unsupervised access.
XFL Season cancel season
The XFL announced that it will not be playing its regular-season games due to the coronavirus. The XFL stated that all players will be paid their base pay and benefits for the 2020 season. Ticket holders will also be issued a refund or be given credit towards future games. The XFL is expected to play a full season in 2021 and future years.
NCAA cancels all spring sports tournaments, including March Madness.
The NCAA has canceled the men's and women's basketball tournaments because of the spread of coronavirus. The decision came one day after the NCAA announced games that were scheduled to start next week would be played in mostly empty arenas.
That plan was scrapped as every major American sports league, beginning with the NBA, put the brakes on their seasons due to concerns about the pandemic.
The NCAA also canceled all of its championships in every winter and spring sport, including hockey, baseball, lacrosse and several others.
Rice University announced Thursday that it is suspending all sports competitions indefinitely due to the growing threat of the coronavirus.
“Given the scope of the crisis, the conference had no choice at this time but to take this action,” Rice Director of Athletics Joe Karlgaard said. “While this is truly a difficult decision that impacts each of our student-athletes, our first priority is to their health and safety. This issue is far greater than sports and our immediate focus will be on supporting them during this period of competitive inactivity.”
All tickets will be automatically refunded for events scheduled through the end of March, with a decision on later games made as warranted. Officials said refunds will be processed back to the form of payment used for the original purchase and a confirmation email will be sent. Officials said additional emails will be sent to Rice Baseball season ticket holders.
For more information or questions, campus officials ask to email email@example.com.
University of Houston
Due to the latest developments regarding the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), the University of Houston, in conjunction with the American Athletic Conference has announced the suspension of all in-season competition for all teams in all spring sports until further notice.
UH Athletics officials will continue to consult with university leadership, American Athletic Conference officials and other local authorities as the situation progresses.
At this time, this suspension does not include teams and individuals competing in NCAA-sanctioned postseason events that are currently scheduled to take place.
Fans who have purchased tickets to any affected home competition can contact the UH Athletics Ticket Office at (713) 462-6647 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. Any fan that is planning to attend a road event is asked to consult with the respective opponent’s attendance policy.
Statement from Vice President for Athletics Chris Pezman :
"During this unpredictable time, our highest priority is to ensure the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans. In conjunction with the American Athletic Conference, the University of Houston will suspend all sports competitions, effective immediately, until further notice. This decision was not made lightly and we will continue to support our student-athletes and coaches during this period of suspension.”
MLB cancels spring training
Major League Baseball announced Thursday afternoon that the rest of spring training has been canceled and Opening Day will be delayed by at least two weeks as a measure to limit the spread of coronavirus. Read more here.
NWSL, Houston Dash cancel preseason schedule
The National Women’s Soccer League announced that all preseason matches would be cancelled and the Houston Dash have adjusted their preseason schedule.
Scheduled scrimmages with the University of Texas on March 14, the Dynamo Academy on March 25, Texas Tech on March 28 and Southern Methodist on April 5 have been cancelled. The team will continue prepare for the 2020 NWSL season that starts in late April.
The Dash, along with the Houston Dynamo, have remained in daily communication with the leadership of both leagues as well as with local and regional health authorities and government officials.
McDonald’s All-American Games
Statement from McDonald’s - "After careful consideration, we have decided to cancel the 2020 McDonald’s All American Games, scheduled for Houston’s Toyota Center on April 1, and all associated events. We made this very difficult decision in order to protect the health and safety of the players, fans and event staff.
We know how much the McDonald’s All American Games means to the tremendously talented 48 high school athletes selected to the roster. Cancelling the Games does not diminish the contributions they have already made to the sport and their communities - nothing can take away the fact that each of them will forever be a McDonald’s All American."
UIL State Basketball postpones state basketball tournament
Statement from UIL- "Due to growing concerns over COVID-19 (coronavirus), the remainder of the UIL Boys State Basketball Tournament is suspended until further notice. This decision is effective upon the conclusion of the 3A session on March 12, 2020. Fans who purchased tickets for the postponed games will be issued full refunds at point of sale or from the school they purchased their tickets from. Fans who purchased All Tournament tickets will be issued a full refund.
St. Thomas University suspends spring sports
Statement from St. Thomas and Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference - Following a meeting of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference President’s Council, and in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, the conference has made the decision to indefinitely suspend all regular season conference and non-conference competition effective Monday, March 16.
SCAC leadership will engage in discussions with the NCAA about any and all implications of a suspension in conference competition; specifically, the league will request support for an extra year for all spring sport student-athletes whose seasons were just canceled.
Member institutions still have the ability to decide whether they will continue winter competition, or whether they will suspend all athletics-related activity for the entirety of the spring semester.
Though the suspension is effective March 16, UST’s baseball series at Texas Lutheran scheduled for this weekend was also cancelled. Additionally, the USCAA cancelled its basketball tournaments, in which UST basketball teams were participating.
NCAA looks to move to smaller venue after announcing no audience at March Madness
Due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus, the NCAA said it is important to mitigate the best option to slow the virus down by recommending against sporting events, such as March Madness, to be held without fans.
“We do believe sport events can take place with only essential personnel and limited family attendance, and this protects our players, employees, and fans,” NCAA stated in a press release.
According to a sports writer at The Associated Press, Ralph Russo, the NCAA is looking to move the Final Four into a smaller venue in Atlanta.
Mark Emmert says the NCAA is looking to move the Final Four out of Mercedes-Benz Stadium into a smaller venue in Atlanta.— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) March 11, 2020
Regional sites could also be moved from the currently scheduled arenas to smaller venues in same cities.
The plan is to keep sites for the 1st round as is.
Tour de Houston postponed
Mayor Sylvester Turner postponed the Tour de Houston bike race that was set for Sunday, March 15, until further notice, race officials announced in a press release Tuesday.
“It is unfortunate that we hit pause on this ride. However, for the safety of all involved, it is the right thing to do,” Turner said in the release. “We look forward to sharing new details soon and seeing everyone back on the roads.”
All riders who were registered for the March 15 event will be re-registered for the event when it is rescheduled.
“Refunds will be available if a registered participant is unable to ride as well as offered the opportunity to donate their registration fee to Re-Plant Houston, in lieu of a refund," race officials wrote.
College Basketball Invitational canceled
According to the Gazelle Group, the College Basketball Invitational has been canceled on college campuses across the country.
"As colleges and universities are making difficult and complex health and risk management decisions about conducting sporting events, it became apparent to us that this was the most prudent course of action. We look forward to bringing the CBI back in March 2021,” Gazelle Group stated in a press release.
Rocket fans were decked out in their H-Town swag for Tuesdays match up between the Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves.
News that the league is pushing teams to prepare to play games with only essential personnel in arenas due to growing concerns over the Corona Virus drew mixed reactions.
"Where do you get the motivation to do that, you know. The fans they feed off that stuff, I don’t think it's a good idea," said fan Ashley Arizmendi.
The league has not made an official decision but has scheduled a conference call with owners to come up with a plan.
“You don’t want anyone to get sick, at the same time you try not to live in fear. You want enjoy things it’s our Spring Break so it’s hard just to stay home and be there all day so we’ve been to the Rodeo, we’ve been to an XFL game, we’ve been to the movies and now we’re at the Rockets," said fan Jason Skaer.
Teams have been asked to prepare for the possibility of implementing temperature checks on players, team staff, and referees.
Consider the effects of such games as it relates to payroll, benefits, and other similar policies for non-essential staff and engage in any necessary communications with fans, ticket holders, and corporate partners.
The league conference call is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
The Rockets next home is scheduled for March 17.