It’s no secret the recent spread of the coronavirus has taken over the communities, and collegiate function and the professional sports world.
As most universities headed to their conference championships to begin what so many people look forward to each spring, the March Madness Tournament, many conferences announced that the championships would be played without fans in attendance.
While there were still fans in attendance at CenturyLink Arena on March 11, many conferences followed the Big West and announced there would be no fans in attendance for the remainder of their championships.
Then the unthinkable happened: Utah Jazz stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell tested positive for the virus. In almost the exact amount of time it took me to get chapstick from the grocery store, the NBA had suspended the remainder of the season.
It didn’t stop there, as most of the country getting up to start their March 12 conferences across the country went from no fans to canceling entirely.
The Big10, Big12, AAC and the WAC, where UVU plays, were among the first to announce the news. The question remained how many more and who else was going to follow.
It was 10:30 a.m. in downtown Boise. The plaza in front of CenturyLink arena was quiet just an hour-and-a-half before the tip-off of the men’s quarterfinal games.
Inside the arena, there were no media, fans, players or coaches. A few Eastern Washington University cheerleaders were taking pictures at mid-court.
Outside, the Montana State University men’s basketball team was walking in the plaza with their heads down. The seniors went from preparing for their quarterfinal game against Portland State to realizing that their college career was over before they got a chance to play at the Big Sky Championship.
“This decision was not made lightly, as we know how meaningful our basketball championships is to our student-athletes, coaches, alumni and fans,” Big Sky Commissioner Tom Wistrcill said in a press release. “After consulting with medical experts, local authorities and leadership of our institutions, we feel that this decision is prudent given the health and well-being of all involved.”
After the announcement, much was uncertain. The Big Sky announced Eastern Washington were the mens champions and Montana State as the women’s champions, after claiming the regular season title.
But just hours later, the NCAA announced that the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments were cancelled. The NCAA also added that all the spring championships were also cancelled. For Weber State that includes track and field, tennis and softball.
For many institutions around the country, spring sports include baseball and lacrosse and all the seniors have to be wondering what’s going to happen to them.
Following the NCAA announcements, the NHL and MLS suspended their season and the MLB followed with suspending spring training and delaying opening day for at least two weeks.
For now the sports world will be quiet, each venue empty as many seasons are questionable. For the seniors, they have to face the fact that their careers in the NCAA came to a sudden halt.