The coronavirus outbreak has forced difficult decisions for the sports-event industry. Nearly every major sporting event has been canceled, moved or postponed. Here is a look at where things stand.
Monday, August 31
TENNIS: U.S. Open Brings Fans Virtually to Arthur Ashe Stadium
The U.S. Open, which started on Monday with no fans in attendance, will use a series of virtual experiences to bring fans into Arthur Ashe Stadium during the Grand Slam, giving fans unparalleled access.
Among the activations will be the US Open Fan Cam powered by American Express, with fans able to record their cheers and encouragement for players and then submit those cheers to the US Open through its mobile app. Fan cheers will be shown on the new LED screens that will surround Arthur Ashe Stadium and card members will get exclusive access to ask a player a question that could be incorporated into an on-court post-match interview.
The USTA also has set up virtual player boxes for those who play at Ashe Stadium to invite guests to be part of the experience through the LED boards in Arthur Ashe Stadium with live interaction during select moments such as changeovers.
When no fans in attendance, the USTA has worked with ESPN and IBM to bring authentic crowd sounds into the presentation of matches. Fans also can win an Official US Open At-Home Suite including a player towel, hat, can of balls and Grey Goose Honey Deuce cup along with a US Open program and tournament guide.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Iowa State to Have 25,000 Fans at Opener
Iowa State’s athletic department released a letter to its fans saying that it plans to have 25,000 fans for its football home opener on September 12 against Louisiana, and it could allow all season-ticket holders into Jack Trice Stadium for its home game against Oklahoma on October 3.
“However, if we determine that mitigation measures were not followed adequately at the first game, we will have no fans at future games beginning with Oklahoma,” said Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard. The Cyclones published how it plans to seat fans at the stadium, as well as a plan for how fans will be expected to arrive and act at the games.
Thursday, August 27
ENDURANCE SPORTS: USA Triathlon Reschedules 2020 Age Group Draft-Legal Nationals
The 2020 USA Triathlon Age Group Draft-Legal National Championships, initially scheduled for November 14 in Tempe, Arizona, have been rescheduled to April 2021. As a result, the event will be held as a world qualifier rather than a national championship.
Tempe will still host the event, which originally was to include Arizona State Sun Devil Draft-Legal Classic, in conjunction with the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships. Due to continued limits on mass gatherings in the region, those events cannot be rescheduled in 2020. Last month, the 2020 women’s college triathlon season was also canceled.
The rescheduled age group draft-legal event will be held April 9, 2021. Plans call for the 2021 USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships to be staged with the event as well.
“While we will miss the chance to gather the nation’s fastest amateur draft-legal athletes in Tempe this fall, USA Triathlon is grateful for the support of ASU and the city of Tempe in finding a solution for a rescheduled world qualifying event in spring 2021,” said Brian D’Amico, director of events at USA Triathlon. “We look forward to returning to Tempe Town Lake in April for an action-packed weekend of multisport at the age-group and collegiate levels.”
COLLEGE SPORTS: SEC Sets Up Non-Football Fall Schedules
The Southeastern Conference will have fall sports — and in sports other than football, they will also have spring competitions to be determined after the NCAA sets up a format for those postseason championships.
The SEC will have cross country, women’s soccer and volleyball for all 14 member schools in the fall and “SEC soccer and volleyball teams will participate in spring competition as well, with details of formats contingent on final decisions by the NCAA to conduct spring championships in those sports,” the league said.
The soccer season will be an eight-match season with only conference play before the league tournament with every school competing from November 13–22 in Orange Beach, Alabama. The volleyball season will be the same format with eight matches over a six-week period; there was no mention of a postseason tournament in that sport. Cross country teams will be allowed to have either two or three competitions before the league meet on October 30 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Wednesday, August 26
COLLEGE SPORTS: AAC Changes Fall Scheduling
The American Athletic Conference announced has postponed all competition and conference championships in men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball until spring 2021 with a decision about cross country not yet determined. The decision was approved by the conference’s athletic directors after the NCAA Division I Board of Directors’ confirmation that fall championships would move to the spring.
“We remain committed to providing our student-athletes a quality experience and competing at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics,” said American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco. “We were prepared to conduct competition in the fall in men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball, but moving to the spring was in the best interest of our student-athletes as it will align our schedules to allow our teams to compete for national championships.”
The American Athletic Conference earlier announced that it will allow its football members to play eight conference games on their originally scheduled dates and nonconference games may be played at the discretion of the individual schools, with the understanding that opponents will strictly adhere to protocols and standards for testing, pregame, in-game and postgame operations set by The American’s Medical Advisory Group.
Tuesday, August 25
NFL: 26 Teams Going Fanless in September
With the regular season scheduled to kick off in just over two weeks, 26 of the National Football League’s 32 teams will do so without fans in attendance.
The San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals all announced that they will have no fans for their home games — at least through the end of September in the case of the Vikings and Bengals, and potentially further for the three teams in California.
The Chargers and Rams, who will share the new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, said they will have games without fans “until further notice.” But the teams both said “should conditions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic significantly improve – and State guidance evolve – to the point we believe fans can safely attend games at SoFi Stadium, we will communicate the news at that time.”
The Rams are scheduled to host the Dallas Cowboys on September 13 with the Chargers hosting the Cincinnati Bengals on September 20 and Carolina Panthers on September 27. San Francisco is scheduled to kick off on September 13 against the Arizona Cardinals while the Vikings have home games against Green Bay on September 13 and Tennessee on September 27. The Bengals will host the Chargers on September 13.
One coach, Sean McDermott of the Buffalo Bills, said he is not happy how some teams will have fans after the Miami Dolphins announced their decision to have up to 13,000 fans in attendance.
“I think it’s honestly ridiculous that there will be on the surface what appears to be a playing field that’s like that, inconsistently across the league with the different away stadiums,” McDermott said.
The Dolphins’ announcement came before the NFL announced its results from a round of COVID-19 testing throughout the league. From August 12–20, the league had 58,397 tests administered to players and personnel with zero positive tests among players and six among personnel.
“When we started the process back in March of exploring what a socially distanced stadium could look like, we made the health and safety of everyone the first priority, knowing that if we felt that we couldn’t make it safe, we simply wouldn’t have fans,” Dolphins Vice Chairman and CEO Tom Garfinkel said in a statement. “We’re happy that our elected officials recognize the attention to detail and diligence that we’ve put into creating a safe environment, and that they made the decision to move forward with a 13,000-capacity stadium at this time.”
SOCCER: NWSL Announces Fall Series Schedule
The National Women’s Soccer League will resume its 2020 season on September 5 with the league playing 18 matches over a seven-week period with three pods of three teams apiece following this summer’s earlier Challenge Cup in Sandy, Utah.
There will be a televised NWSL Game of the Week on CBS every Saturday in September and on CBS Sports Network three Saturdays in October, a reflection of how the two national broadcasts from the Challenge Cup received record-breaking ratings.
Teams within each pod will play one another to enable the league to minimize travel. OL Reign, Portland and Utah will be in the West pod with Chicago, Sky Blue and Washington in a Northeast pod. North Carolina, Houston and Orlando will be in the South pod.
The full format and schedule will be released in the next week. The NWSL’s return-to-play protocols reflect best practices developed and implemented during the Challenge Cup. League protocols have been updated to reflect the reality of home-market matches and regional travel and will influence all league and club actions outside the field of play.
AUTO RACING: Formula One Finalizes 2020 Schedule, Including Turkey Return
Formula One will have a 17-race schedule after adding four more races to its program for the 2020 season, including a race for the first time in nine years in Turkey, with the season scheduled to finish in mid-December.
The four races added include Turkey’s Istanbul Park on November 15, then races in Bahrain on November 29 and December 6 before the December 13 season-ending race in Abu Dhabi, the latest finish to a season for Formula One since 1963.
The series will have its seventh race of 2020 this weekend in Belgium. The 17 races overall are the fewest in a season since 2009; the 2020 schedule was to have 22 events including the traditional U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
Monday, August 24
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Louisville Plans 30 Percent Capacity
The University of Louisville will allow 30 percent of capacity at 60,800-seat Cardinal Stadium to be filled for football this season, with social distancing for the 18,000 allowed inside the gates and the season scheduled to start September 12 against Western Kentucky.
Safety measures will be in place including temperature checks at the entrances, face coverings required, physical distancing within the stadium as well as parking lots for tailgating and restrictions in some stadium areas among the plans. All ticketing for the season will be digital.
To allow all season ticket holders the opportunity to attend games with the limited capacity, the school will be reaching out to all fans with information reflecting their individual status and options. Season ticket holders will be given the opportunity to select their seat location from physically distanced sets of seats in priority point order.
Friday, August 21
Horse Racing: Kentucky Derby To Race Without Fans
Churchill Downs Incorporated announced that it will run the 146th Kentucky Derby on September 5 without fans.
“The Kentucky Derby is a time-honored American tradition which has always been about bringing people together,” the track said in a statement. “However, the health and safety of our team, fans and participants is our highest concern. Churchill Downs has worked diligently over the last several months to plan a safe Derby with a limited number of spectators in attendance. We were confident in that plan but dedicated to remaining flexible using the best and most reliable information available. With the current significant increases in COVID-19 cases in Louisville as well as across the region, we needed to again revisit our planning.”
The decision to run without fans includes Kentucky Oaks on Friday, September 4 and all live racing at Churchill Downs Racetrack for Derby week (September 1-5). Only essential personnel and participants will be permitted on the property. Churchill Downs previously was targeting fewer than 23,000 fans for the Oaks and Derby.
“The virus is still aggressively spreading in Kentucky and the White House has announced that Jefferson County and the City of Louisville are in a ‘red zone’ based on increases in cases,” Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said. “I applaud Churchill Downs for continuing to monitor the virus and for making the right and responsible decision.”
COLLEGE SPORTS: NCAA Working on Fall Championships Move to Spring
Division I will work toward hosting scaled back fall championships in the spring, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors have determined— but board members said the fall championships should be played in the spring only if they can be conducted safely and in accordance with federal, state and local health guidelines.
“We want to provide opportunities for student-athletes whenever possible,” said Acting Board Chair Denise Trauth, president of Texas State. “We understand it will be complicated and different, and we’re not certain how it will look. But we believe it’s important to try to give students that championship experience.”
Additionally, all fall sport student-athletes will receive both an additional year of eligibility and an additional year in which to complete it through a blanket waiver.
BASEBALL: Subway Series Postponed After Positive Test on Mets
Typically one of the more highly-anticipated series in Major League Baseball’s regular season, the Subway Series between the New York Mets and New York Yankees has been postponed after two members of the Mets organization tested positive earlier in the week.
“Out of an abundance of caution and to allow for additional testing and contact tracing to be performed within the New York Mets’ organization, the games between the Mets and New York Yankees at Citi Field on Saturday, August 22nd and Sunday, August 23rd have been postponed,” MLB said in a statement.
The postponement of the series comes after MLB and the players union announced that through the end of Thursday, then had in the latest round of COVID testing had 12,485 samples taken with seven positives — three players and four staff members.
As of Saturday, 37 games impacting 13 teams had been postponed due to COVID-19 cases. Outbreaks on the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals led to extended periods of inactivity for both teams; the Cardinals had a 17-day break at one point and when their schedule was reset after the outbreak, it had them scheduled for only 58 games — two short of this season’s maximum. The Cardinals are scheduled to play 32 games in September, highlighted by seven doubleheaders, which this year will be seven innings in both games instead of the traditional nine.
Thursday, August 20
SKIING: North American Stops on FIS World Cup Tour Canceled
The 2020-2021 Audi FIS Alpine World Cup season will not be conducted in North America after the international ski federation canceled a two-week stretch that usually takes place in the United States and Canada in November and December.
For the women’s circuit, the move impacts the giant slalom and slalom event that had been planned in Killington, Vermont, November 28–29, and the speed week in Lake Louise, Canada, December 1–6. On the men’s side, the move eliminates a speed weekend in Lake Louise November 25–29, as well as speed and tech events in Vail/Beaver Creek, Colorado, December 1–6.
The World Cup is expected to return to those locations for the 2021–2022 season.
“The desire and motivation to hold these races as scheduled for all parties was strong,” said Markus Waldner, FIS men’s chief race director. “The training set-up and races in USA and Canada are very much appreciated by the teams. But ultimately, the unique logistics and situation for the early-season alpine races has current travel restrictions and corresponding quarantine regulations in both directions, which led to this joint decision.”
ULTIMATE: USA Ultimate Cancels Previously Postponed 2020 Championship Events
USA Ultimate has canceled its previously postponed championship event in 2020, including the Beach Championships, the Division I and Division III College Championships, the Masters Championships and the Youth Club Championships.
“Despite earlier plans to host these tournaments later this year, and with the health, safety and well-being of our members and the ultimate community our top priority, it is clear that conditions have not yet improved enough to move forward with the planning and execution of these national-level events,” the national governing body said in a statement.
USA Ultimate said it would focus its attention in 2020 to exploring, encouraging and supporting local, state and regional low-risk playing opportunities that can be organized under terms of its return-to-play guidelines and CDC direction.
Wednesday, August 19
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Big Ten Details Pathway to Cancellation
Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren wrote an open letter to the conference community that the league posted on Twitter in an attempt to give more detail into the league’s decision to cancel fall sports last week, a decision that coaches and parents of football players throughout the conference have questioned.
“We understand the disappointment and questions surrounding the timing of our decision to postpone fall sports, especially in light of releasing a football schedule only six days prior to that decision,” Warren’s letter read in part. “From the beginning, we consistently communicated our commitment to cautiously proceed one day at a time with the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes at the center of our decision-making process. That is why we took simultaneous paths in releasing the football schedule, while also diligently monitoring the spread of the virus, testing, and medical concerns as student-athletes were transitioning to full-contact practice.”
Shortly after the Big Ten’s decision, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields started a petition to reverse the decision. Parents of players from schools including Ohio State and Iowa have written letters asking for more details into the decision-making process while Penn State coach James Franklin on Wednesday morning said “I have an issue with the process and I’ve got an issue with the timing. It was challenging to keep getting up in front of my team and getting up in front of my parents and not having answers to their questions.”
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEC Announces Fan Health and Safety Guidelines
The Southeastern Conference has released guidelines for schools in the expectation that they will be having fans at games this season — although the league was careful to say that the rules are “pending future decisions related to the allowance of fans to attend games as the Conference continues to monitor developments around the COVID-19 virus.”
Among the SEC’s guidelines for all stadiums is that face coverings over the nose and mouth must be worn throughout the stadium. There will be barriers installed at points of sale for food and beverage with concessions staffers wearing masks and all tickets will be digitally scanned. The full list of stadium guidelines can be viewed here.
When it comes to fan attendance, the league says “institutions shall determine the number of guests permitted to attend in accordance with applicable state and local guidelines, policies and/or regulations.” With that in mind, several SEC schools have started to inform season-ticket holders and boosters of the respective plans to have fans in attendance at games as the league’s start is scheduled for September 26.
Georgia will have up to 25 percent of total capacity — 23,186 fans total — with only single-game tickets available and season-ticket holders’ statuses unchanged for the future. Tickets for the Bulldogs’ home games will be $150 per game, split between the $75 ticket price and a $75 contribution requirement. Alabama would start at 20 percent capacity for Bryant-Denny Stadium while Missouri and Tennessee would seat 25 percent of capacity; Texas A&M plans to have 30 percent of capacity full for games.
“These fan guidelines have been adopted by the 14 member schools of the Southeastern Conference as baseline recommendations for the campus management of fan health and safety,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “Although local and state guidelines will determine if and how many fans can attend games, these guidelines provide conference-wide expectations for protection of guests who are able to attend our games.”
Tuesday, August 18
TENNIS: USTA Ready to Begin Two New York Tournaments
The USTA has recorded one positive result out of 1,400 tests as the governing body prepares to organize the Western & Southern Open and the U.S. Open in New York. The positive test was of a non-player who was among the 1,000 people in the USTA’s top tier of individuals in a controlled environment that largely has all parties staying in two hotels on Long Island when they are not playing.
USTA officials said they are confident in their controlled environment for players, which is designed to limit their off-site activities at the events, which will both be staged at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
“There’s no question the staging for the Western & Southern Open and the U.S. Open will take on new dimensions without fans on-site,” said Stacey Allaster, U.S. Open tournament director. “Together with ESPN and our international broadcasters, millions of fans in more than 200 countries will have the opportunity to be inspired by what I believe are the most amazing athletes to compete in sport at the highest of levels. As we progress, 26 days to go, everything is based on this comprehensive plan to mitigate risk for all.”
The USTA has had to make some adjustments in its initial plans, which called for players to be quarantined at the TWA Hotel at New York’s JFK International Airport. The new plan has players in two Long Island hotels, including the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale next to the Nassau Coliseum.
“We have transformed that property, together with our partners, to create an exceptional experience of activities,” Allaster said. “We call it the Manhattan Project. You can’t go to Manhattan but we’ll bring Manhattan to you. There’s a gym, a recovery room, an arcade room, a gaming room, a golf simulator, a sports simulator, this massive outdoor lounge, food trucks every night. It’s a good vibe.”
Monday, August 17
COLLEGE SPORTS: NCAA Releases Statement On Basketball Preparations
As college sports in the fall has turned into a mishmash of some conferences playing as scheduled and others canceling sports with an eye toward spring, one overarching question is what will happen to college basketball — and an answer may come within a month’s time.
NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt released a statement on Monday saying “by mid-September, we will provide direction about whether the season and practice start on time or a short-term delay is necessitated by the ongoing pandemic” as the NCAA Division I Council will listen to recommendations from the Men’s and Women’s Basketball Oversight Committees.
“We recognize that we are living and operating in an uncertain time and it is likely that mid-September will be just the first milestone for many important decisions pertaining to the regular season and the NCAA basketball championships,” Gavitt’s statement read. “While circumstances may warrant flexibility resulting in a different and perhaps imperfect season, the ultimate goal is to safely provide student-athletes and teams with a great college basketball experience.”
The NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments were canceled in March as the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread throughout the country. NCAA President Mark Emmert said last week that using the “bubble” concept for the 2021 NCAA Tournaments could be possible.
“Starting with 64 teams is tough. Thirty-two, OK, maybe that’s a manageable number. Sixteen, certainly manageable. But you’ve got to figure out those logistics,” Emmert said in an interview on the NCAA’s website. “There’s doubtlessly ways to make that work.”
Emmert also said the NCAA’s preference would be to keep the men’s and women’s tournaments as scheduled in 2021.
“Men’s and women’s basketball, we’ve got to do what we need to do to support those athletes and those timelines,” Emmert said. “We’re talking, of course, with our media partners pretty constantly now about what flexibility they would have and we would have. We’d love nothing more than to hold the current dates constant, and that may well be doable.”
FOOTBALL: Canadian Football League Cancels Season
The Canadian Football League is shifting its focus to 2021 after deciding not to play a shortened season in the fall, deciding that it cannot play without fans in the stands since that is its major source of revenue.
The season was to be played in Winnipeg as the hub city with players living in a protected “bubble” consisting of the gameday stadium, practice fields and hotels. But the league also consistently said the plan would require some meaningful federal government support — which was denied — among other factors.
“Even with additional support, our owners and community-held teams would have had to endure significant financial losses to play in 2020,” Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said. “Without it, the losses would be so large that they would really hamper our ability to bounce back strongly next year and beyond. The most important thing is the future of our league.”
SOCCER: U.S. Open Cup Canceled
U.S. Soccer’s Open Cup Committee has been forced to cancel the 2020 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the first time it has not been held in 106 years. The Open Cup previously faced an interruption during the pandemic of 1918-1920 when the tournament was known as the National Challenge Cup.
The traditional winner of the U.S. Open Cup has come from Major League Soccer, which will play in home markets after the completion of the MLS Is Back Tournament, with some markets making plans to have fans at games.
The first in-market game was August 16, when FC Dallas hosted Nashville SC. FC Dallas will allow up to 5,110 fans at Toyota Stadium for its home games with masks mandatory for those in attendance. Real Salt Lake will allow up to 5,000 fans to attend and Sporting Kansas City will allow for 2,500 fans to be at its home games.
Due to Yankee Stadium being unavailable, New York City FC will play games at Red Bull Arena, the home of rivals New York Red Bulls. Another issue is the league’s three Canadian teams in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver; those teams play each other twice before possibly having a U.S. base for the rest of the season due to travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada.
Friday August 14
COLLEGIATE SPORTS: NCAA President Says No Fall Championships
The NCAA will not conduct any of its fall championships, a move that impacts 22 sports as well as the FCS football championship. In a video posted to Twitter, NCAA President Mark Emmert said the fact that less than 50 percent of schools will be competing in those sports met a threshold to cancel the championship events. The decision does not include major college football, which is organized separately from the NCAA.
“The board of governors also established if you don’t have half of the schools playing a sport, you can’t have a legitimate championship,” Emmert said in a video posted on the NCAA’s Twitter feed. “We can’t in any Division I NCAA championship sport now — which is everything other than FBS football that goes on in the fall. Sadly, tragically, that’s going to be the case this fall, full stop.”
"We cannot, at this point, have fall NCAA championships."
NCAA President Mark Emmert discusses the latest developments in fall sports and looks ahead to winter and spring championships.
— NCAA (@NCAA) August 13, 2020
Emmert said the NCAA will turn its attention to winter and spring sports that lost their championships last season in the hopes those athletes can still compete for a title this coming season. But there may be changes ahead for how those events are conducted. Emmert said options include shrinking bracket sizes, hosting events at pre-determined sites and creating bubble or “semi-bubble” concepts for sports such as volleyball and soccer.
“There’s a way to do it,” Emmert said. “Will it be normal? Of course not. We’ll be playing fall sports in the spring. Will it create other conflicts and challenges? Of course. But is it doable? Yeah. It is doable.”
The official announcement came after the Ohio Valley Conference made plans to postpone its fall sports schedule, becoming the 13th FCS conference to announce that it won’t conduct fall sports as scheduled.
Football Bowl Subdivision play is a different conversation. Of the Power 5 leagues, the Big Ten and Pac-12 have cancelled play for the fall while the ACC, SEC and Big 12 are still going forward with plans to play. Several non-Power 5 leagues including Conference USA, the American Athletic Conference and Sun Belt are still scheduled to play along with BYU, an independent football program.
Thursday, August 13
COLLEGIATE SPORTS: Big Sky, WAC, Southland Postpone Fall Sports
Three more collegiate conferences have announced they will postpone the fall season in sports: The Big Sky Conference, the WAC and the Southland Conference.
For the Big Sky, the move postpones all competition for fall sports to spring 2021. This decision affects men’s and women’s cross country, soccer and volleyball, which all stage championships, as well as the non-championship sports of men’s and women’s golf, softball, and men’s and women’s tennis. The conference had previously moved the football season to the spring.
“While I am confident that our conference is making the right decision for the health and safety of our student-athletes, it breaks my heart knowing how disappointing this will be to all of them who were eagerly anticipating the opportunity to compete this fall,” Commissioner Tom Wistrcill said. “Our efforts in the conference office now will focus on doing everything within our power to make their spring season the best that it possibly can be, which includes advocating for their NCAA championships to be held then.”
For the WAC, the move suspends all fall championship and non-championship athletics competition through the end of 2020. The conference’s fall conference championship sports affected are men’s and women’s cross country, volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer. The move also affects the non-championship portion of the schedule for men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf, baseball, and softball.
In the Southland Conference, sports postponed to the spring are football, volleyball, women’s soccer and cross country. The conference’s 13 member presidents also authorized planning for spring semester championship events for volleyball, soccer and cross country.
“The Board concluded that an entire fall sports season is not likely, and that a postponement to spring can provide the important opportunities our teams annually seek,” Southland Conference Commissioner Tom Burnett said. “While disappointed that we won’t be playing these sports in the Southland’s 58th year of fall competition, we look forward to a unique spring season of athletics that also includes NCAA postseason opportunities.”
Wednesday, August 12
GOLF: Masters to Be Held Without Patrons (Or Fans)
The Masters, one of the most venerable sporting events in the world that is traditionally held in early April but this year will take place in November, will do so without fans, Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley announced.
“Since our initial announcement to postpone the 2020 Masters, we have remained committed to a rescheduled Tournament in November while continually examining how best to host a global sporting event amid this pandemic,” said Ridley. “Throughout this process, we have consulted with health officials and a variety of subject matter experts. Ultimately, we determined that the potential risks of welcoming patrons and guests to our grounds in November are simply too significant to overcome.”
All 2020 ticket holders will be guaranteed the same tickets for the 2021 Masters. The tournament was only postponed on the Monday before the event in April was scheduled to begin, with a rescheduled event set in the hopes of having fans — or patrons in Masters-speak — on the grounds.
The PGA Tour is in its 10th week of action after the pandemic shut down the sport for 13 weeks. The PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, won by Collin Morikawa on Sunday, was played without spectators while September’s U.S. Open at Winged Foot will not have fans and the British Open canceled its 2020 event.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Big 12 Plans To Play, Releases Schedule
The Big 12 Conference, seen as a linchpin for the Power 5 college football landscape, released a revised 2020 schedule after agreeing the night before to proceed with plans for fall sports. The decision came late on a day where the Big Ten and Pac-12 both canceled fall sports and many saw a Big 12 decision as the last gasp to keep college football on the fall sports landscape; should the Big 12 had decided to cancel, it was believed that the ACC and SEC would likely follow.
“The virus continues to evolve and medical professionals are learning more with each passing week,” said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “Opinions vary regarding the best path forward, as we’ve seen throughout higher education and our society overall, but we are comfortable in our institutions’ ability to provide a structured training environment, rigorous testing and surveillance, hospital quality sanitation and mitigation practices that optimize the health and safety of our student-athletes.”
Big 12 members have committed to enhanced COVID-19 testing that includes three tests per week in football, volleyball and soccer. Non-conference football opponents must also adhere to COVID-19 testing protocols that conform to Big 12 standards during the week leading up to competition. The Big 12 will have nine conference games this season and allow each member to play one non-conference game as well but it must be completed before September 26.
As the Power 5 Conferences continue to shift and adapt to the landscape, several other conferences are also trying to wrap around a new reality. The Big South joined a lengthening list of those who will not have fall sports with the intent to play in the spring — with a twist. The league will allow its football teams to play up to four non-conference games this fall at their discretion; some of the league’s football programs would likely be looking to fill in for FBS teams that now have holes in a schedule and want to fill them with willing opponents while also allowing the Big South teams to try and get potential revenue as a buy game.
The latest Division I conference to cancel fall sports is the Big East, which said it will look at a future date to determine if men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, volleyball and field hockey can be played in the spring. The decision was made in consultation with the league’s COVID-19 Task Force. Decisions on winter and spring sports schedules will be made at a later time.
Tuesday, August 11
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Big Ten and Pac-12 Conferences Cancel College Football
The Big Ten Conference became the first Power 5 conference to cancel fall sports in what could be the first in a series of dominos that would put the entire Football Bowl Subdivision season in peril, followed shortly after by the Pac-12 Conference, which announced that it may play football in the spring but otherwise will hold off all sports until January 1, 2021.
“In making its decision, which was based on multiple factors, the Big Ten Conference relied on the medical advice and counsel of the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee,” the league said in a statement, adding that they will evaluate the option of having fall sports season held in the spring of 2021. It also noted that a decision on winter and spring sports will not be made until a later date.
“All of the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors understand the importance of this decision, and the disappointment it will create for our student-athletes, the coaches, support staff and all of our fans,” said Michael H. Schill, president of the University of Oregon in announcing the Pac-12’s decision. “Ultimately, our decision was guided by science and a deep commitment to the health and welfare of student-athletes. We certainly hope that the Pac-12 will be able to return to competition in the New Year.”
The Big Ten had only last week released a 10-game, conference-only schedule with play starting on Labor Day weekend. The Pac-12 had planned a conference-only schedule that was to start September 26.
“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said. “As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall.”
Coaches Jim Harbaugh of Michigan, Ryan Day of Ohio State and James Franklin of Penn State were among those on Monday who tweeted support for a season to be held along with dozens of players from throughout the conference. Nebraska coach Scott Frost said the league would still play this fall if they did not have a Big Ten schedule, adding “I think we’re prepared to look at any and all options.” U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, wrote to Big Ten Conference presidents and chancellors urging them not to cancel the season.
No football in the Big Ten this season would be a devastating blow to several local economies, including markets such as Lincoln, Nebraska; State College, Pennsylvania; and Ann Arbor, Michigan. The conference has some of the biggest fan bases in the country; rivalries such as Ohio State vs. Michigan are among the fiercest in all of sports and many of its other matchups have a long history such as Wisconsin vs. Minnesota, which has been played annually since 1905.
The Pac-12, while not in College Football Playoff contention in recent years, still maintains multiple national brands between USC, UCLA and Oregon. The rivalry between Stanford and Cal-Berkeley has been played every year since 1945, and the rivalry between Oregon and Oregon State has been played continuously since 1945. The LA rivalry between USC and UCLA will not be played for the first time since 1935.
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott noted while the Conference’s plan to keep student-athletes safe was working in accordance with the Pac-12 COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee guidelines and state and local government orders, the situation was becoming more challenging: “Unlike professional sports, college sports cannot operate in a bubble,” he said. “Our athletic programs are a part of broader campuses in communities where in many cases the prevalence of COVID-19 is significant. We will continue to monitor the situation and when conditions change we will be ready to explore all options to play the impacted sports in the new calendar year.”
The decision by the Big Ten and Pac-12 also increases the attention and scrutiny over what the other Power 5 conferences — the ACC, SEC and Big 12 — will do.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement, “I look forward to learning more about the factors that led the Big Ten and Pac-12 leadership to take these actions today. I remain comfortable with the thorough and deliberate approach that the SEC and our 14 members are taking to support a healthy environment for our student-athletes. We will continue to further refine our policies and protocols for a safe return to sports as we monitor developments around COVID-19 in a continued effort to support, educate and care for our student-athletes every day.”
“We are pleased with the protocols being administrated on our 15 campuses,” the ACC said in its own statement. “We will continue to follow our process that has been in place for months and has served us well. We understand the need to stay flexible and be prepared to adjust as medical information and the landscape evolves.”
The Big Ten and Pac-12’s decisions come one day after the Mountain West Conference canceled its football season, the second conference in the Football Bowl Subdivision to do so after the Mid-American Conference announced its cancellation on Saturday. The Mountain West said it will “explore the feasibility of rescheduling fall sports competition, including the possibility of those sports competing in the spring, and develop options for consideration.”
The Mountain West is home to Boise State, one of the sport’s mid-major powerhouses, and traditionally is known as one of the best non-Power 5 leagues in the FBS. Along with the MW and MAC, individual programs such as the University of Massachusetts, University of Connecticut and Old Dominion University individually have canceled play.
The NCAA Division II and Division III fall championships have been canceled and the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs were also canceled after leagues comprising of more than half of the level’s programs announced it would not play in the fall; a spring FCS season has not yet been publicly ruled out.
Monday, August 10
HOCKEY: Hall of Fame Induction Delayed
The Hockey Hall of Fame announced that the 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Weekend/Celebration has been postponed until further notice. Rescheduling plans will be addressed when the Hall’s Board of Directors meet October 29. The Induction Celebration for Marian Hossa, Jarome Iginla, Kevin Lowe, Kim St-Pierre, Doug Wilson and Ken Holland was scheduled for November 16 in Toronto.
NASCAR: Fans Expected at Darlington Raceway
Darlington Raceway in South Carolina has gotten state approval to have fans in the stands when it runs NASCAR’s Southern 500 next month.
The state’s Commerce Department gave the track “Too Tough To Tame” an exemption to have up to 8,000 fans in the stands. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said he was limiting venues to 250 people or 50% of capacity, whichever was less. Venues such as Darlington that get exemptions must require wearing masks or face coverings as a condition of entry.
Darlington was the first track to host NASCAR racing last May with two races in a three-day period after missing more than two months due to COVID-19. The September 6 race will be the first of NASCAR’s 10-event playoffs and mark Darlington’s first season with three Cup Series races.
ESPORTS: DreamHack Events Postponed for Remainder of 2020
Gaming festival organizer DreamHack has postponed the remainder of its live events planned for 2020, including a show scheduled for Atlanta from November 13–15. Other shows affected were scheduled for Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Hyderabad, India; and Madrid.
“We have never had to postpone events like this before,” said DreamHack co-CEO Marcus Lindmark, “but these are extraordinary times, and the safety of our attendees and staff has never been more important than now.”
DreamHack earlier postponed events in Dallas and Montreal to 2021. The new dates for the postponed events will be revealed at a later date.
Friday, August 7
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FCS Playoffs Shelved for Fall; Spring Play Still Possible
The Football Championship Subdivision playoffs will not be held in the fall after the latest in a series of conference decisions to postpone the season has resulted in the lower half of Division I college football falling short of a NCAA mandate to hold a postseason event.
The NCAA’s recent mandate that playoffs would require 50% of eligible teams participate in a regular season was triggered after both the Big Sky Conference, home to some of the most competitive programs in the FCS, announced it will move its season to the spring. The Pioneer League also decided not to have football in the fall.
“The health and safety of our students is our top priority, and ultimately that concern guided our decision-making process over the past few months as we explored every option regarding the 2020 football season,” said Andy Feinstein, president of the University of Northern Colorado and chair of the Big Sky Presidents’ Council. “We recognize just how meaningful these opportunities are to the student-athletes, coaches, and staff throughout our conference, and empathize that they won’t be able to compete this fall for a Big Sky championship. We are eager to provide our football programs with that opportunity in the spring when it’s hopefully safer to be able to do so.”
Of the 13 FCS football conferences, eight have announced they will not have fall seasons: the CAA, Ivy League, MEAC, NEC, Patriot League and SWAC in addition to the Big Sky and Pioneer League. The Big South, Missouri Valley, Ohio Valley, Southern and Southland conferences have not yet announced plans.
The FCS playoffs have been held annually since 1978 and was expanded to 24 teams in 2013. If all of FCS shift their seasons to the spring, a playoff would still be possible later in the year.
“We will now shift our attention to doing everything within our power to provide our football student-athletes and coaches with a conference schedule and a championship (playoff) opportunity in the spring,” Big Sky Commissioner Tom Wistrcill said. “We already have begun actively engaging our fellow FCS conferences and the NCAA to join us then for what will be a unique opportunity to return to competition and compete for an FCS championship.”
HOCKEY: ECHL Delays Start to 2020–2021 Season
The ECHL will open its 72-game schedule on a delayed basis with opening puck drops on December 4. The season was scheduled to start October 16; the league’s 2019–2020 season was suspended due to COVID-19 and never completed.
“We are eager to return to hockey, but at this time we believe this decision is prudent for the safety of our Players, Employees and Fans,” said ECHL Commissioner Ryan Crelin. “The ECHL and our Board of Governors are focused on the 2020-21 Season and remain optimistic for the safe reopening of our venues across the continent.”
GOLF: LPGA Event in New Jersey Going Fan-Less
The ShopRite Classic, a longtime stop on the LPGA Tour held in New Jersey, will be competed without fans. The tournament, previously scheduled in May and then rescheduled to July 31, will now be held starting September 28 in Galloway, New Jersey. The tournament will be expanded to 72 holes from 54.
“I cannot thank our partners at ShopRite, Acer and Eiger enough for their support as we navigate through these unique times,” said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan.“While this year’s tournament will certainly be different without the great fan support on-site, I hope all of our local fans will tune into Golf Channel to watch their favorite players and we can’t wait until we can all be together again.”
Wednesday, August 5
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Connecticut Becomes First FBS Program to Cancel Football Season
The University of Connecticut became the first Football Bowl Subdivision program to cancel its season, with Athletic Director David Benedict saying “safety challenges created by COVID-19 place our football student-athletes at an unacceptable level of risk.”
The program had left the American Athletic Conference in June and was planning on playing in the fall as an independent. But with many other leagues going to conference-only play, the Huskies were left with only five games before the decision to cancel. The school said in its statement that no student-athletes have tested positive for the coronavirus since early July.
“We engaged and listened to the concerns of our football student-athletes and feel this is the best decision for their health, safety, and well-being,” Huskies Coach Randy Edsall said in the news release. “Our team is united in this approach and we will use this time to further player development within the program and gear ourselves to the 2021 season.”
The Huskies finished 2-10 last season and are 6-30 in the past three seasons combined. The school is required to pay the ACC an exit fee of $17 million by 2026 after leaving to re-join the Big East in all sports other than football, men’s and women’s ice hockey and rowing.
COLLEGE SPORTS: Division II and Division III Vote to Cancel Fall Championships; Division I Plans Unclear
NCAA Division III championships in fall sports for 2020-21 are canceled as part of a broader announcement by the governing body allowing each conference and division to make their own plans for championship events.
“With the health and safety of the division’s student-athletes, coaches, athletics administrators and communities as its priority, the Division III Presidents Council made the decision Wednesday to cancel the championships due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related administrative and financial challenges,” the statement read. Nearly every Division III athletic conference had already decided to cancel or postpone fall competition, making it a relatively easy decision.
“Looking at the health and safety challenges we face this fall during this unprecedented time, we had to make this tough decision to cancel championships for fall sports this academic year in the best interest of our student-athlete and member institutions,” said Tori Murden McClure, chair of the Presidents Council and president at Spalding. “Our Championships Committee reviewed the financial and logistical ramifications if Division III fall sports championships were conducted in the spring and found it was logistically untenable and financially prohibitive. Our Management Council reached the same conclusion. Moving forward, we will try to maximize the championships experience for our winter and spring sport student-athletes, who unfortunately were short-changed last academic year.”
Shortly after the Division III announcement, Division II’s Presidents Council made the same decision. As of Wednesday, 11 of the 23 Division II conferences had announced they will not compete during the fall.
“After reviewing and discussing the Board of Governors’ directives, the Division II Presidents Council made the difficult decision that holding fall championships in any capacity was not a viable or fiscally responsible option for Division II,” said Sandra Jordan, chancellor of South Carolina Aiken and chair of the council. “This decision was discussed very thoroughly and I assure you, it was not made lightly. It is important to note that fall student-athletes will be given eligibility-related flexibility to allow them championship opportunities in the future. As we move forward, we will continue to focus on providing the best championships experience for our winter and spring student-athletes who were not afforded those opportunities at the beginning of this pandemic.”
The NCAA Board of Governors before the Division III announcement released a list of requirements for any fall championship to be held, including no championship if 50 percent or more of the eligible teams in a division cancel their fall season.
Division I must determine by Aug. 21 whether its respective fall sports seasons and NCAA championships should occur this year. Among other guidelines, the Board of Governors said the NCAA will establish a phone number and email for college athletes, parents or others to report alleged failures in adhering to medical protocols, and that any athlete who decides to opt out of the season can do so without losing their scholarship. Member schools must also cover COVID-19 related medical expenses for athletes to prevent out-of-pocket expenses.
ENDURANCE SPORTS: USA Paratriathlon Nationals Canceled
USA Triathlon has canceled the Toyota USA Paratriathlon National Championships, which were initially scheduled to take place July 18 in Long Beach, California, as part of the Legacy Triathlon. When Legacy Triathlon event weekend was canceled, Paratriathlon Nationals were rescheduled to take place as part of the Ron Jon Cocoa Beach Triathlon hosted by Smooth Running on Sept. 20 in Cocoa Beach, Florida. The Ron Jon Cocoa Beach Triathlon will continue as a local USA Triathlon-sanctioned event for age-group athletes including a triathlon, duathlon and relay division as well as the USA Triathlon Southeast Paratriathlon Regional Championships.
Tuesday, August 4
AUTO RACING: Indianapolis 500 To Be Held Without Fans
One of the biggest sporting events in the world will be held without spectators as the Indianapolis 500, which was rescheduled from Memorial Day Weekend to August 23 in the hopes of being able to allow fans, announced that it will instead be held without spectators at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Track officials had released a plan for social distancing throughout the complex to allow for 25 percent of capacity to attend and earlier vowed it would cancel the event rather than hold it without fans. The Indianapolis 500 will run for the 104th time this month and traditionally draws over 257,000 fans each year.
“This tough decision was made following careful consideration and extensive consultation with state and city leadership,” the track said in a statement. “As dedicated as we were to running the race this year with 25 percent attendance at our large outdoor facility, even with meaningful and careful precautions implemented by the city and state, the COVID-19 trends in Marion County and Indiana have worsened. Since our June 26 announcement, the number of cases in Marion County has tripled while the positivity rate has doubled. We said from the beginning of the pandemic we would put the health and safety of our community first, and while hosting spectators at a limited capacity with our robust plan in place was appropriate in late June, it is not the right path forward based on the current environment.”
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Big 12 Conference Adopts 9+1 Football Schedule
The Big 12 Conference became the latest of the Power 5 conferences to adjust its football schedules, announcing it will play nine conference games and have one non-conference home game for each school.
The start of conference play will be announced at a later date, with some schools planning on having a non-conference game as soon as late-August. The adjusted schedule also allows for the Big 12 Championship game to be moved to as late as December 19, which is in line with what other Power 5 conferences have scheduled.
“I would like to salute the work of our university presidents and chancellors, athletics directors, coaches, medical advisors and administrators who have worked tirelessly and collaboratively during these extraordinary times,” said Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “We believe this change provides the best opportunity going forward. However, we will undoubtedly need to be flexible as we progress through the season in order to combat the challenges that lie ahead.”
The Big 12 and ACC will be the only Power 5 conferences to allow for a non-conference game. The SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 will be going conference only with their football schedules.
Monday, August 3
CYCLING: Colorado Classic Publishes COVID Mitigation Plan
After canceling its event due to increased concerns around a spike in new COVID-19 cases nationwide, the Colorado Classic has published its COVID-19 Mitigation Plan in the hope it will offer assistance to other event organizers, teams and riders as the sport continues to grapple with the pandemic.
The Classic is a professional women’s cycling race that was scheduled for four destinations across the state. In its place, organizers launched the #WeRide for Women fundraiser and virtual ride, which is intended to financially support the teams that would have competed. Earlier this year, organizers had proposed staging the August race but eliminating crowd gatherings. But new COVID-19 cases in Colorado and other restrictions made even the competition difficult to move forward.
“We spent months recognizing and researching the key elements for a successful COVID mitigation plan applicable to a professional cycling event,” said Lucy Diaz, chief executive officer of RPM Events Group LLC. “It was a very collaborative process that included medical professionals, bio labs, state, county and city health officials and cycling industry professionals. We studied the protocols that were being put into place in our surrounding communities and what was being proposed in other professional sports.”
The plan was developed in concert with current Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment guidelines and integrates policy and protocol as established by the cycling governing bodies of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and USA Cycling. The plan takes into account the Colorado Classic’s first step toward a safe racing environment, which was the creation of a “Made for TV Streaming” model. This format eliminated crowd gathering opportunities and amplified their innovative live streaming model instead.
TRIATHLON: 2020 USA Triathlon Off-Road Nationals Canceled
USA Triathlon has canceled its Off-Road National Championships scheduled for May 16, then rescheduled for September 13, at Wawayanda State Park in Hewitt, New Jersey. The 2021 event will return to Hewitt on May 15. The 2021 event will serve as a qualifier for both the 2021 and 2022 ITU Age Group Cross Triathlon World Championships, which will be held in Almere-Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Townsville, Australia, respectively.
“Unfortunately, current COVID-19 restrictions in New Jersey eliminate the possibility of drawing a national field for this event,” said Brian D’Amico, director of events at USA Triathlon. “While it is always disappointing to cancel a national championship, we are confident this is the only feasible decision that is fair to all athletes.”
Athletes who were registered for the 2020 event have the option to participate in one of the age-group races at the Way Over Yonder Off-Road Triathlon & Duathlon, which is still scheduled for September 13, provided they can abide by New Jersey’s COVID-19 restrictions. They will also receive a special 30% off discount code toward the 2021 race.
Saturday, August 1
AUTO RACING: IndyCar Postpones Race Weekend in Ohio
The IndyCar Series and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course agreed to postpone The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio scheduled for August 7–9 until a date to be determined in September or October. The decision was made through communication with local health officials given the current environment.
“Our team continues to work with all of our partners and our local government to identify a date later this year when we can host The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio,” IndyCar said in a statement. “We appreciate the patience and understanding of our fans as we navigate this postponement.”
Friday, July 31
COLLEGE SPORTS: Pac-12 to Play Football Championship on Campus
The Pac-12 Conference has announced more details about its fall plans for football teams to play conference-only games. As part of the season that will begin September 26 for member schools, the Pac-12 Football Championship Game will be played December 18 or 19 with a home-hosted model.
The move will take the game away from Las Vegas, which was set to host the competition for the first time at Allegiant Stadium. In announcing the move, the Pac-12 said the game will be staged in 2021 in Las Vegas after consultation with the stadium, the Las Vegas Raiders, the Las Vegas CVA and MGM Resorts International.
The conference also announced a conference-only season for other sports, including men’s and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, and men’s and women’s cross country.
Thursday, July 30
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEC Establishes Conference-Only Football Start Date
The Southeastern Conference will go to conference-only for a football schedule this fall with games starting September 26 “to allow its universities to focus on the healthy return of their campus communities and the gradual re-introduction of athletics,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey has announced.
The league will have a 10-game season with the SEC Championship Game held at its traditional site in Atlanta on December 19. The schedule will include one open date for each school with no games on December 12 as well.
Traditional SEC-ACC matchups such as South Carolina vs. Clemson, Kentucky vs. Louisville, Florida vs. Florida State and Georgia vs. Georgia Tech will be disrupted by the decision.
“This new plan for a football schedule is consistent with the educational goals of our universities to allow for the safe and orderly return to campus of their student populations and to provide a healthy learning environment during these unique circumstances presented by the COVID-19 virus,” Sankey said. “This new schedule supports the safety measures that are being taken by each of our institutions to ensure the health of our campus communities.”
A revised schedule for the 2020 SEC football season will be announced at a later date. The league’s other fall sports were earlier postponed through at least August 31 and start dates and schedules for those teams will also be announced at a later date.
HOCKEY: AHL Pushes 2020-21 Season Start to December
The American Hockey League has announced a revised start date for the 2020-21 season of December 4, 2020 as approved by the league’s Board of Governors. The league said in a statement that “the AHL will continue to work with its member clubs to monitor developments and local guidelines in all 31 league cities. Further details regarding the 2020-21 American Hockey League schedule are still to be determined.”
Wednesday, July 29
COLLEGE SPORTS: ACC Announces Plans for Football and Fall Olympic Sports
The Atlantic Coast Conference became the latest Power 5 league to announce its plans for the fall sports season, with football going to a modified schedule of 10 conference games plus one marquee non-conference game that will be determined at later dates and Notre Dame competing as a league member for this season only. Football and fall Olympic sports will begin competition the week of September 7–12 “if public health guidance allows,” the league said in a statement.
Most notable among the ACC football changes is that instead of two divisions the league will be a one-division format. The top two teams at the end of the season would play in the ACC Championship Game at season’s end. Each team’s non-conference game will be selected by the respective school and must be played in the home state of the ACC member school; all non-conference opponents must also meet the ACC’s medical protocol requirements.
Teams will have two open weeks during the season with the ACC title game played on either December 12 or December 19 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The exact weekly schedule will be released in the future. Also of note is that the league will have all TV revenue for the season — including Notre Dame’s NBC home game broadcasts — shared equally among the 15 programs.
One intriguing tidbit about the schedule is normally, a Power 5 team would have six home games each season. Because the ACC’s 10-game conference schedule includes five home games, some schools may lose a potential home game if its non-conference game is on the road. Notre Dame’s traditionally has games against Navy and Southern Cal; the game against the Trojans had already been canceled because of the Pac-12’s decision on conferencely-only play, while the Navy game is currently scheduled to be played in Annapolis, Maryland. It would be the first time that Navy has ever hosted Notre Dame at home — and only because the game’s was moved to Annapolis from its original site in Dublin, Ireland. Now under the ACC’s protocols, should Notre Dame make Navy its one non-conference game, it would have to be moved into the state of Indiana.
The 2020 Football Schedule Model has been announced.
— ACC Football (@ACCFootball) July 29, 2020
For Olympic sports, the league will allow competition to start on September 10 with a NCAA-mandated minimum amount of conference games in field hockey (6), women’s and men’s soccer (6) and volleyball (10). Each school will be allowed to schedule additional games at their discretion both against conference and non-conference teams, provided those teams meet the ACC’s medical standards. But any conference games beyond the NCAA minimum will not count toward the league standings.
The ACC fall championship schedule will also be maintained with cross country involving all 15 member schools at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina, plus field hockey at Duke University and both men’s and women’s soccer championships being held at WakeMed Soccer Park.
The ACC’s move comes after two other Power 5 leagues, the Pac-12 and Big Ten, announced that they would have no non-conference play in the fall.
OLYMPICS: Tokyo Official Says 2021 Games Could Have ‘Limited’ Spectators
The chief executive of the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Summer Games has told the BBC that the rescheduled event next summer could be held with “a limited number of spectators,” according to the BBC.
Toshiro Muto said to the network that organizers “will do everything we can to make it to the opening ceremony” on July 23, 2021. The Olympics were postponed — the first time it has ever happened — due to COVID-19 and will be held from July 23 through August 8 next year, with the Paralympics scheduled for August 24 through September 5.
“Everyone should focus on holding the event next year — we’re on the same page,” said Muto. “We discussed this with Mr. [Thomas] Bach [IOC president] and he’s saying it isn’t appropriate to think about cancelling or postponing again.”
Muto told the BBC that the Olympics may have some events without capacity crowds but when asked if the Games would go on without fans, he replied “Mr. Bach is not looking for that scenario. He may be thinking about a limited number of spectators with full consideration of social distancing.”
Both the IOC and Tokyo organizers have been working to find ways to keep next year’s rescheduled event safe. Muto told the BBC that they may reduce the number of staff allowed from individual countries and present a streamlined Opening or Closing Ceremony. There are no current plans to cut the number of events or athletes that would compete in Japan.
“We must build an environment where people feel safe,” Muto said. “Athletes and the IOC family may require testing before/after entering Japan and [we need] strong medical systems around accommodation and transportation plans.”
COLLEGE SPORTS: Big West Conference Postpones Fall Sports
The Big West Conference will postpone fall sports competition through the end of 2020 but has not yet made a decision about men’s and women’s basketball, which are scheduled to begin on November 10.
The conference’s board of directors voted to make the change because of “continued serious challenges to health and safety on Big West campuses and communities impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic.” The move includes the postponement of men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball; “a decision on whether fall sport competition would be feasible in the spring will be determined by the Board of Directors at a later date and be based on conditions and circumstances that are in the best interests of the student-athletes,” the Big West added.
GOLF: U.S. Open Officially Off-Limits to Fans, USGA Says
The United States Golf Association has officially announced that the 120th U.S. Open Championship, scheduled for September 14–20 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, will be held without spectators. The decision was reached in consultation with the state of New York. The tournament, traditionally held in the spring with the final round on Father’s Day, was rescheduled to the fall because of COVID-19.
Tickets purchased directly through the USGA will be automatically refunded to the method of payment used to purchase the tickets. Additional information on U.S. Open ticket refunds can be found here.
“This will not be a typical U.S. Open in several respects,” said John Bodenhamer, the USGA’s senior managing director of championships. “Would it have been easier to simply cancel or even move the 2020 championship rather than play it in what has been the epicenter of the virus in our country? Possibly. But all of us at the USGA know how much the U.S. Open matters and we weren’t willing to give up on playing it at Winged Foot Golf Club so easily. We are very proud to give our competitors and champions a platform to chase their dreams. Their perseverance motivates us, in a year when such tenacity means so much.”
COLLEGE SPORTS: NAIA Moves Several Fall Championships to Spring
The NAIA’s Council of Presidents has voted to postpone national championships in the fall for cross country, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball to the spring of 2021. The decision notes that conference competition in those sports can still be held in the fall and winter if they choose; 51 NAIA institutions have already opted to postpone fall competition until the spring.
The timing of the football national championship will be determined at a council of presidents meeting on July 31.
“The NAIA realizes there are a wide range of considerations that come with postponing fall championships,” said NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr. “However, our first priority is making sure our student-athletes are not penalized by this decision. That will likely require temporary rule changes and accommodations as related to eligibility and seasons of competition, which the NAIA governance groups will begin further defining this week.”
HOCKEY: NWSL Releases Season Timeline
The National Women’s Hockey League, which had to cancel its Isobel Cup Playoffs in the spring, will start the upcoming season in January 2021 with a full 20-game schedule for each team and playoffs completed by the end of March. The league says it will aim to have its All-Star Game after the playoffs are completed.
The league said that will allow optional on-ice practices and off-ice training for teams starting the week of September 21, with formal practices starting the week of October 19 while following protocols established by infectious disease experts, the NWHL medical team and community officials in each market.
“The Safety Committee has and will continue to prioritize NWHL player, staff, fan, and media safety above all else while adapting to the ever-changing COVID-19 situation,” said Dr. Guillem Gonzalez-Lomas, assistant professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Health expert at NYU Langone Health. “We are eager to meet the challenge ahead and do our utmost to safely return the athletes to the sport they love.”
OLYMPIC SPORTS: USA Weightlifting Takes American Open Virtual
USA Weightlifting has changed the American Open Series 3 to a remote and virtual event instead of holding it in Las Vegas from September 17–20.
The change will allow athletes to train and compete at home or a nearby gym without the need to travel. The virtual event is being modeled after this summer’s ROGUE Invitational, Pan Am Cup, and USA Weightlifting’s Online Selection Camp. Upon the close of entries, USA Weightlifting will develop a competition schedule and at an athlete’s assigned time, they will login to a Zoom meeting and lift in competition with other athletes in their weight categories.
“This is an innovative solution for an unprecedented time in our history,” USA Weightlifting CEO Phil Andrews said. “We want to give our members something to circle on their calendar. By holding this event remotely, we can assure our members that a weightlifting competition will happen that weekend.”
ENDURANCE SPORTS: Spartan Cancels All 2020 U.S. Races
Spartan Race is cancelling all United States obstacle races and trail races for the rest of 2020. The organization had a series of postponements since March 11 when an event in San Luis Obispo, California, was canceled. It did have a race in Jacksonville, Florida, six weeks ago with a new set of standards but Spartan has decided to focus the rest of the calendar year on setting up its 2021 schedule.
“It was a difficult decision to make, but we believe it’s better to prioritize safety now so we can rally towards the incredible season we have planned in 2021,” Spartan said in a release.
Tuesday, July 28
NFL: No Bubble for Season, Says League
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to fans that laid out the issues that the 2020 season will bring, with many teams under fan restrictions and in some cases possibly not having crowds at all.
The league previously announced that fans in markets where attendance will be allowed must wear masks in the stadium. The New York Jets and Giants have announced that it will not have fans, while the Los Angeles Rams, Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers announced that it would have a restricted number of fans in attendance — if they are able to have fans at all. Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis already has said he does not expect fans to be in attendance when his team opens Allegiant Stadium.
“Covid-19 will continue to present a major challenge to nearly every area of American life. Football is no exception,” Goodell wrote, also confirming that there will be no preseason games. “The NFL in 2020 will not look like other years. Players and coaches will be tested for the virus regularly, including every day for a while. … When there is a positive test, strict regulations will be enforced to isolate and care for that individual and to contain the virus before it spreads. Even the sideline will look different. And, state and local health guidelines will help determine whether fans will attend the games. These adjustments are necessary to reduce the risk for everyone involved.”
Goodell’s letter came as the NFL’s chief medical officer Allen Sills told ESPN that the league does not plan to utilize a bubble concept in one location and will instead focus on handling testing in each team’s market and responding quickly to any positives that could occur.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Ohio State to Cap Attendance at 20,000
Ohio State football crowds will be capped at 20 percent of its 104,944 capacity this season, the athletic department wrote to season ticket holders, giving them an update as the season is scheduled to start in less than two months.
If games are played, the university will require physical distancing and mandatory face masks or coverings with limited concessions available. Ohio State will prohibit tailgating and for fans who have paid for season tickets, the university will offer to accommodate as many season ticket holders as possible, which will require limiting the quantity of season tickets for each ticket holder.
“While no final decision has been made regarding the 2020 football season, the Department of Athletics has been working diligently with university leaders, public health experts and government officials to create game day plans that protect the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes, staff, faculty and fans,” the department said in a message to ticket holders today.
Season ticket holders who opt out will retain their full season ticket eligibility for 2021.
Monday, July 27
AUTO RACING: IRL Schedule Adjusts Once More
The IndyCar Series, which has had to readjust its schedule continuously throughout the pandemic to make sure that it could run races at tracks with proper protocols and in some cases have been able to have fans on hand, released another update to the 2020 calendar that keeps it on track to run 14 races this season.
Events at Portland International Raceway in Oregon and a doubleheader weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in California have been canceled, with additional races in its places put in at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, World Wide Technology Raceway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Road Course.
Prior to the scheduled Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on August 9, the series will have another points race the day before. WWTR in St. Louis, Missouri, will have a doubleheader event on August 29–30 and the IMS race course will have events on October 2–3.
COLLEGE SPORTS: Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Postpones Fall Sports
The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference has canceled fall sports competition, with a decision on if it can be rescheduled for the fall to be determined at a later date. The MAAC’s decision is the latest in a series of moves made by mostly smaller Division I conferences along with several in Division II, most notably the Ivy League and Patriot League
“The fall sports impacted by the Council’s decision include men’s and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, and men’s and women’s cross country and sports that conduct non-traditional season segments in the fall,” MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor said. “It is the goal of the MAAC to ensure it recognizes a MAAC champion in each sport and it will review possible championship formats for the fall sports in accordance with evolving state and local regulations.”
One of the MAAC’s member schools is Marist College, which plays football in the Pioneer Football League since the MAAC does not sponsor the sport. Marist’s non-conference games against Georgetown, Cornell and Dartmouth had already been canceled, and Marist released a statement saying “it is presumed that the Red Foxes’ football season may be postponed barring significant improvements related to the COVID-19 pandemic. A decision regarding Marist’s football season is expected within the next few weeks.”
The announcements by the MAAC and Marist came soon after the NCAA Division I Council Coordination Committee’s announcement that it will be giving a blanket waiver to fall sports that reduces the legislated minimum number of contests by 50 percent. The waiver is available for men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey, men’s water polo and women’s volleyball teams.
“In the current environment where some conferences have eliminated non-conference competition for fall sports, the change allows teams that continue to play the opportunity to avoid scheduling additional games near the end of a season that could put student-athletes, coaches and staff in at-risk positions with additional travel and exposure,” the committee said in a statement.
Friday, July 24
MOTORSPORTS: Formula 1 Cancels North American Races
Formula 1 has announced that it will not race in the United States, Mexico, Canada or Brazil during 2020, a race that takes the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, off the calendar. That race had at the Circuit of the Americas course been scheduled for October 25.
The international racing series said the decision was “due to the fluid nature of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, local restrictions and the importance of keeping communities and our colleagues safe.” The decision was made after ongoing discussions and close collaboration with partners in the affected countries.
Chase Carey, chairman and CEO of Formula 1, said that he looked forward to welcoming the races back to the schedule in 2021: “We want to pay tribute to our incredible partners in the Americas and look forward to being back with them next season when they will once again be able to thrill millions of fans around the world.”
COTA Founding Partner Bobby Epstein called the cancellation “prudent, but painful. After a sold-out 2019, advance ticket sales deposits were up nearly 250 percent over the prior year, and our staff was preparing for our biggest event ever.”
Thursday, July 23
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Pac-12 Prepares Conference-Only Schedule Changes
The Pac-12 Conference, one of the two Power 5 leagues to announce that it will not be playing non-conference games this season in the fall, is on the verge of finalizing plans for a 10-game schedule in football. The news was first reported by the San Jose Mercury News.
The report says that it would be include each team playing against every team in the division along with five crossover games with seasons starting on Sept. 19, the third week on the college football calendar. There would be up to two bye weeks in each team’s season in case there are games that have to be rescheduled and the conference championship game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas could be held on its originally scheduled date of December 4, but it would also be potentially held on December 11–12 or December 18–19 if needed.
The Pac-12 and Big Ten Conferences have announced no non-conference play for football and other fall sports this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Other Power 5 leagues such as the SEC, Big 12 and ACC are still working on their models for the season.
Wednesday, July 22
NFL: League Mandates Face Coverings for Fans
The National Football League announced today that fans who are allowed to attend games will be required to wear face coverings, making league-wide a mandate that many teams had already started to inform fans of as a policy.
In the past week, the New York Jets and Giants have announced that it will not have fans, while the Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers announced that it would have a restricted number of fans in attendance — if they are able to have fans at all. The Atlanta Falcons joined that list on Wednesday, saying that it would have up to 20,000 fans at games allowed. Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis already has said he does not expect fans to be in attendance when his team opens Allegiant Stadium.
The Rams’ debut season at SoFi Stadium, the most highly anticipated sports venue opening in several years, will be played with a limited number of fans at most and the team announced to stadium seat license holders that “season tickets will not be possible for the 2020 season.” Season tickets will be deferred to the 2021 season with SSL holders given priority for games this year if fans are allowed in. Previous single game ticket purchases and transferred tickets will be canceled. The first game at SoFi Stadium would be the Rams’ season opener against the Dallas Cowboys on September 13.
The NFL has offered to eliminate the preseason as part of its negotiations with the players union — an offer that the union accepted late Tuesday, according to multiple reports — as training camps are scheduled to begin for many teams by the end of this week. The Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs had rookies report to their training camps on Monday since those teams are scheduled to start the regular season a few days ahead of the other teams in the league. The preseason had been a source of talks for several weeks, with the league previously cutting down the preseason to two games from the original four while the players wanted none.
The NFL and union is also close to agreement on a COVID-19 testing program that would result in each player being tested daily to start training camp. The daily testing will continue as long as the positive rate among players, coaches and team staffers is above 5 percent; if the rate is under that number, the testing will be done every other day.
OLYMPICS: USOPC Testing Reveals One Positive, Says Partner
The Partnership for Clean Competition, a nonprofit that funds anti-doping research, has partnered with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee to test athletes for COVID-19 with 25 athletes at the Olympic & Paralympic Training Centers tested — with one positive test and another athlete testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies.
In addition to quarantining the currently infected athlete, USOPC officials were able to conduct contact tracing and quarantine those that had sustained contact with the positive athlete. The testing will help guide recommendations for sports organizations as they plan returns to training and competition. It will also provide invaluable information about infection rates in the athlete population.
“These tests will give us the first epidemiological profile of COVID-19 in the elite athlete population,” said USOPC Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Finnoff. “We want to know how prevalent the virus is, but we also want to know how an athlete’s body will respond.”
The PCC has provided the USOPC with $75,000, which will cover testing for 250 athletes. The PCC funds more than 70% of the world’s anti-doping research.
“At the end of the day, anti-doping is about athlete health and safety, so while this isn’t our typical area of focus, we felt called to work with the USOPC on this project,” said PCC Executive Director Michael Pearlmutter.
Tuesday, July 21
AUTO RACING: Indianapolis 500 To Have 25 Percent Capacity
The Indianapolis 500 will have 25 percent of capacity, announced Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with face coverings required for all attendees with ticket sales stopped after July 24.
“In June, we announced the race was on and that attendance would be limited to no more than 50 percent of capacity,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President & CEO Mark Miles said in a statement. “We also made clear we intended to do things differently this year. By offering credits to fans who had previously purchased tickets, encouraging those over 65 to stay at home, limiting attendance in the infield, reducing tickets in our suites and promising fans their decision to not attend would not impact their seniority or right to renew tickets for 2021, we now anticipate attendance at approximately 25 percent of capacity. We will welcome fans back, and we have an aggressive plan in place, which has been developed through collaboration with national, state and local health experts.”
Billed as the largest sports venue in the world, the track claims a permanent seating capacity for more than 235,000 people and infield seating that raises capacity to an approximate 400,000.
The track has prepared a nearly 100-page plan that provides guidelines and protocols for how the race will be run this year. Track officials will include safety precautions including the reassignment of seats to provide for greater distancing; the required use of masks and distribution of hand sanitizer to all who enter; temperature checks in order to enter; and changes throughout the facility to minimize lines and gathering spots, including limiting concession options to mostly pre-packaged foods.
Miles and track officials had previously said that if fans were not allowed in attendance that the race would be further delayed but that alternative will not be needed. The IndyCar Series have had a restricted number of fans at recent races in Wisconsin and Iowa.
“We look forward to welcoming fans back to the 500 in person. Our outdoor facility is mammoth, and with attendance of about 25 percent, it will certainly look different this year,” said Miles. “We want to demonstrate that even under current circumstances, people can gather with carefully planned procedures in place so we don’t have to go back to shutting down our country and our community.”
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Texas Expects 50 Percent Capacity; Classes at Cal to Start Virtually
The University of Texas says it anticipates home football games being played in front of 50 percent capacity in the stands, the Longhorns’ athletic director said in an email to season ticket holders.
Chris Del Conte said in the message that the school is working with the governor’s office and will follow state guidelines on social distancing. The Big 12 Conference has not made any announcements on the fate of college football yet; the Longhorns are scheduled to open on September 5 at home against South Florida.
Texas’ Royal-Memorial Stadium holds about 100,000 and even with limited capacity, the school said it expects to offer all season-ticket holders a chance to get tickets.
While the Big 12 and Texas are still moving ahead with plans to play all football games, the Pac-12 Conference has already announced that it will not have its member schools playing in non-conference games for all fall sports. One Pac-12 school, California, has announced that it will start the fall semester with fully remote instruction and not have students on campus. How that will affect Cal’s athletic programs is to be determined; the Bears football program already had games canceled by the conference’s decision against UNLV, TCU and Cal Poly, making the team’s currently scheduled opener September 26 against Utah.
“Although we have repeatedly noted that all fall plans are subject to public health conditions, we understand that this news will be disappointing,” Cal said in a statement, which pointedly did not mention athletics. “Many faculty and students continue to look forward to resumption of some element of in-person instruction. We will continue to work hard on our plans, and to learn from the setbacks as well as the advances.”
TENNIS: ATP Event in Washington, D.C., Canceled
The ATP Tour has called off next month’s Citi Open in Washington, D.C., due to COVID-19. The event was to be the first for the ATP Tour in its return to action since suspension of play in March. While the move has raised questions on the viability of the U.S. Open in New York City, the United States Tennis Association rejected those worries.
“The USTA understands the rationale for cancelling the Citi Open at this time,” said the governing body in a statement. “This decision in no way impacts the U.S. Open or the Western & Southern Open. … We constantly base our decisions regarding hosting these tournaments on our three guiding principles that include safety and health of all involved, whether hosting these events are in the best interest in the sport of tennis and whether this decision is financially viable. We are confident we remain in-line with all three guiding principles.”
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS: Texas Big-School Football Delayed
Texas will delay the start of football season for its largest schools until September 24 amid a surge of new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths throughout the state. The big schools were scheduled to start practice on August 3 and begin the season on September 7.
The University Interscholastic League said it focused the delay on larger schools in the state’s largest metropolitan areas. The Houston school district will not meet on campus until mid-October.
“These adjustments reflect the public health situation at this time and the varying numbers of COVID-19 cases across different geographic areas of the state,” the UIL said in its announcement.
Monday, July 20
NFL: Jets, Giants Without Fans This Season Or “Until Further Notice”
The New York Jets and Giants will not have fans at MetLife Stadium this season “until further notice” because of the coronavirus pandemic after releasing a joint statement with Governor Phil Murphy.
Murphy announced an executive order limiting outdoor public gatherings to 500 people on Monday. The Jets and Giants say the decision to not have fans for now was reached after discussions with Murphy, with the health and safety of fans, players and staff being considered.
“We support Governor Murphy’s decision in the interest of public health and safety and, until circumstances change, we will play our games without the benefit of fans in attendance,” said a letter sent to Jets and Giants season ticket holders. “Although we prefer to have fans at MetLife Stadium for our games, we will continue to work with Governor Murphy’s office and will provide updates as available.”
The letter also read “in the event fans are permitted at MetLife Stadium later this season and depending on capacity limitations or restrictions from the State of NJ, Season Ticket Members will receive first access to purchase 2020 individual game tickets via exclusive pre-sales before tickets are offered to the general public.”
Rutgers University also announced that all of its athletic venues will operate with 500 or fewer in attendance and safety precautions will be in place for those fans who come to sporting events there.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS: California Moves All Sports To December or January Starts
The California Interscholastic Federation has moved all high school athletics back to at least December or January, creating a new statewide calendar that will have two sports seasons in the winter and fall while allowing each of the state’s 10 sections to put together their own calendar to reflect when their regions feel ready to have competition.
With coronavirus surging throughout the state, most California public and private schools will begin the academic year with online classes. High school football practice was scheduled to begin Aug. 3 but now will have its regional bowl games held by April 17 at the latest. Given the state’s enormous depth and breadth of talent in many scholastic sports, the calendar changes will not only make some multi-sport athletes choose one team or the other, it will also inevitably lead to a gigantic scramble for colleges looking to recruit and evaluate athletes.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the CIF will allow athletes to participate on club teams while also competing in high school seasons in a temporary suspension of statewide rules, although local districts can have a stricter rule should they choose.
“We are continuously monitoring the directives and guidelines released from the Governor’s Office, the California Department of Education, the California Department of Public Health and local county health departments and agencies as these directives and guidelines are followed by our member schools/school districts with student health and safety at the forefront,” the CIF said in a statement.
Friday, July 17
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: CAA Cancels Fall Football Season
The Colonial Athletic Association has become the latest collegiate conference to suspend football competition for the fall, citing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. Conference officials said they would explore playing the sport in the spring.
The CAA also cited the unique nature of the conference composition, the geographical expansion of membership and the complexity of the often-changing situation in postponing the fall season. Conference leaders also said schools were welcome to explore pursuing an independent schedule in the fall.
“I commend the Board of Directors for their forward thinking and open-mindedness when dealing with the uncertain and complex moment that we find ourselves in,” said CAA Commissioner Joe D’Antonio. “Each of our institutions is making the best decisions for its campus community, based on a totality of the circumstances analysis.”
The 12 schools in the conference are James Madison, Albany, Villanova, New Hampshire, Towson, Maine, Elon, Richmond, Delaware, William & Mary, Stony Brook and Rhode Island.
COLLEGE SPORTS: Atlantic 10 Postpones All Fall Sports
The Atlantic 10 Conference has postponed of all scheduled fall competition in conference-sponsored sports and A-10 championships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sports affected by the move includes men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey, men’s and women’s cross country and volleyball. The fall competitive schedules for men’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and women’s rowing will also be postponed, as will non-traditional competition seasons for baseball, softball and women’s lacrosse.
The league intends to move all fall competition to the 2021 spring semester. Details on the rescheduling of contests and championships will be announced at a later date.
Thursday, July 16
AUTO RACING: NASCAR All-Star Open Draws 20,000 Fans
It was a scene not seen in NASCAR in many months — not the part where a driver wins a race, but what happened when Clint Bowyer won the fan vote to advance to the NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
It was the sound of cheers from the grandstand, as at least 20,000 fans were socially distanced throughout the track’s massive grandstands. Up to 30,000 fans were allowed to attend the annual event, which was moved from Charlotte Motor Speedway to Tennessee for the first time.
“To me there is no more electric environment that we as NASCAR drivers can interact with and hear at Bristol,” said Chase Elliott, who won the race. “I know it was limited on how many people could come. Heck, it felt like they sure were making a lot of noise for only 30,000 people to be here, so that was pretty cool.”
Bristol can hold about 140,000 people, meaning it would be 79% empty even with a crowd of 30,000. Masks were required upon entrance but fans could remove them once in their seats. Concession stands were open, but opportunities were limited.
“Having the fans back is obviously what we all want,” Kevin Harvick said. “Having that energy back in the stands was definitely fun to hear, fun to be a part of.”
IndyCar raced last weekend at Road America in Wisconsin on a 4-mile road course and crowd estimates for that event have been around 10,000 spectators. The IndyCar series plans to have fans again during its upcoming race weekend at Iowa Speedway with a limited number of tickets available and social distancing enforced throughout the stands.
Wednesday, July 15
OLYMPICS: 2022 Youth Olympic Games Postponed to 2026
The Youth Olympic Games scheduled for Senegal in 2022 will be postponed until 2026 after a mutual agreement between the host country and International Olympic Committee. The agreement was approved by the IOC Executive Board and will be submitted to the IOC Session for ratification on Friday.
The postponement of Dakar 2022 allows the IOC, National Olympic Committees and International Federations to better plan activities that have been affected by the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This amicable agreement illustrates the mutual trust between Senegal and the IOC,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement. “I am sure that together we will organize fantastic Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2026 for Senegal, the entire African continent and all the young athletes of the world.”
The IOC also announced that it has so far paid $100 million to various National Olympic Committees and International Federation since the outbreak of the coronavirus, with $63 million going to IFs and $37 million to NOCs. Payments to IFs started in June and the program is continuing, the IOC said.
COLLEGE SPORTS: Tournament of Roses Parade Canceled, Rose Bowl Still On For Now
The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association has announced that the 2021 Rose Parade has been canceled. Since its inception in 1891, the Parade has not occurred only three times – the wartime years of 1942, 1943 and 1945.
The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association also hosts the Rose Bowl Game each January 1. The planning for this year’s Rose Bowl Game, which will serve as a College Football Playoff Semifinal, is still ongoing.
“We continue to work with the College Football Playoff and our collegiate partners to explore what this year’s college football season will look like amidst COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines. While the safety and well-being of the student athletes, university personnel and fans is our top priority, we remain hopeful that the Granddaddy of Them All will take place on New Year’s Day,” said David Eads, executive director and chief executive officer of the Tournament of Roses.
Potentially having no Rose Bowl game would be another blow to the Rose Bowl Operating Company’s financial state. The Pasadena City Council earlier this summer approved $11.5 million in debt payments to help cover costs from a decade-long renovation.
NFL: Buccaneers to Get Facility Improvements to Prevent COVID-19 Spread
Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, the home of the 2021 Super Bowl, would be getting over $10 million in federal funding to have upgrades throughout the facility to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if approved by the Hillsborough County Commission. The news was first reported by the Tampa Bay Times.
The federal funding would be used by the Tampa Sports Authority to modify more than 40 different areans throughout the stadium, with the first of three phases to be completed by October 31. Among the modifications would be a public address system in the parking lots to let fans know which groups would be allowed to come to entry gates at assigned times, plus touchscreen ticket scanners and temperature check thermometers. There would also be portable wash stations throughout the venue and parking areas plus modifications to the press box for social distancing and reconfigured entry gates and check points.
The measures already have been recommended for approval by the commission’s staff, according to the story, and the Buccaneers are expected to unveil their ticket policy and seating capacity this week.
NASCAR: Fans Allowed for August Events at Daytona
Daytona International Speedway will allow a limited number of fans to attend the Cup Series and Truck Series races on August 16 in accordance with public health officials and local, state and federal authorities along with amended safety protocols and procedures. Fans will be allowed to sit in the frontstretch grandstand plus there will be options for infield camping. Tickets are also being sold for the August 29 Cup Series event.
Fans who have already purchased tickets to the August 16 event have been reseated and guests who attend will be required to wear face coverings and maintain six feet of social distancing throughout the venue. There will also be ingress and egress procedures into the property and each guest will be screened at the gate with questions about their health status and a temperature check, among other protocols.
COLLEGE SPORTS: Major Preseason Event Canceled
College hockey’s Ice Breaker Tournament, a major opening weekend event that traditionally brings together four of the biggest names in the sport, will be postponed to 2021. The tournament was scheduled be hosted by the University of Minnesota-Duluth and also include the University of Minnesota, Minnesota State University-Mankato and Providence College. The rescheduled event will be held October 9–10, 2021 with all of the teams except for Minnesota still participating.
“Given the latest input and guidance from the University, local and state officials as well as public health experts, we have decided at this time it is not possible to host the 2020 Ice Breaker Tournament in a successful manner and have postponed the event to October of 2021,” said UMD Athletic Director Josh Berlo. “Ultimately, the health and well-being of the participants, staff, coaches, campus and community led us to this decision. We hope this postponement puts UMD, Amsoil Arena and Duluth in the best position to safely host the Ice Breaker Tournament in 2021 that will include an exceptional experience for the teams, a safe and fun atmosphere for the fans of Bulldog Country and beyond as well as significant economic impact for our community.”
Tuesday, July 14
NFL: Eagles, Phillies Will Not Have Fans at Games
The Philadelphia Eagles and other pro teams in the city will likely not have fans at their venues this year after city Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said, “I do not think that they can have spectators at those games. There’s no way for them to be safe having a crowd there.”
Farley did say at a press conference that the protocols for having games played are good. Under the city’s current guidelines, events of 25 or more people indoors are not permitted, such as hockey or basketball games.
“The Eagles are still going to be allowed to play, although without crowds. The Phillies will continue to be allowed to play, although without crowds,” Managing Director Brian Abernathy told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We have been in communication with the Eagles. We have told them our expectations are that they don’t have fans.”
The team said in a statement that ticketed parties will be asked to maintain physical distancing of at least six feet, tickets will be arranged in blocks of 10 seats or less, and the first eight rows of stadium seats will not be used. Face coverings will be required at all times inside the stadium. Patriots Putnam Club and Season Ticket Members will have the first opportunity to purchase individual game tickets if fans are allowed, and any remaining inventory will go on sale to the general public once the member process is complete.
The Patriots are the third team in the NFL to acknowledge that it will not have capacity crowds this season. The Jacksonville Jaguars said over the weekend that the team would cap attendance at 25 percent of the capacity at TIAA Bank Field this fall, with tickets and most in-stadium purchases being cashless and those allowed to attend games required to wear face coverings. The Jaguars’ home stadium has a capacity of 67,164. The Baltimore Ravens earlier announced that they would cap attendance at 14,000 at M&T Bank Stadium, which has a capacity of 71,008.
Most NFL teams have communicated with its season ticket holders about the plans for 2020 with almost all of them allowing those who have season tickets to roll over their account to 2021.
GOLF: PGA Tour Going Fan-Free For Season
The remaining tournaments on the 2019–2020 PGA Tour schedule will be played without spectators on site as the United States continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.
All five tournaments since the Tour returned have been played without fans and there were plans to reintroduce spectators in a limited capacity at this week’s Memorial Tournament before those plans were scrapped as numbers spiked across the country.
Each tournament through the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta in September will now be played without fans in attendance including next week’s 3M Open in Blaine, Minnesota; the World Golf Championship-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis; the Barracuda Championship in Truckee, California; or the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina, the last tournament in which players can qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs.
The PGA Championship at San Francisco’s Harding Park, rescheduled for August 6–9, had previously announced it will be played without spectators. The U.S. Open in September at Winged Foot in New York will be held under the same conditions.
TENNIS: USTA Cancels Several National Events
The United States Tennis Association has canceled a series of national-level events scheduled for August throughout the country for both juniors and adults.
The USTA National Championships for boys 18s singles and boys and girls 18s–12 doubles at the national campus in Orlando, Florida will be affected along with the girls 18s national championship in San Diego, the boys 16s at Rome, Georgia, and the girls 16s at Mobile, Alabama. Adult events canceled included the men’s 65 national indoors at Eden Prairie, Minnesota; men’s and women’s open national grass court championships at Newport, Rhode Island; and the men’s 75 & 80 mother/son national grass court championships at Rumford, Rhode Island.
“As these events were larger in scale and size, there was an inherent risk associated with hosting large numbers of individuals at one site, at one time and would make risk mitigation difficult,” the organization said in a statement. “Without a controlled environment that includes a comprehensive and contained lodging, transportation, food and beverage, and medical testing program in place, proper risk mitigation would not be possible — and in the case of these events, this type of environment would logistically and financially be incredibly difficult to create.”
Monday, July 13
COLLEGE SPORTS: NJCAA Moves Fall Sports to Spring Semester
The National Junior College Athletic Association will adjust its sports schedule and move all fall semester sports competition, including football, to the spring semester. The decision came after the recommendations from the NJCAA Presidential Advisory Council and the NJCAA Board of Regents. The plan of action will move all close-contact fall sports to the spring semester including football, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball.
The NJCAA cross country championships for all three divisions and half marathon championships will remain on their originally scheduled dates in the fall as will Division III women’s tennis. All winter sports competition will begin in January with championships for men’s and women’s basketball, wrestling, and swimming and diving moved to April. Men’s and women’s bowling and men’s and women’s indoor track and field will be held at the beginning of March.
Spring sports competition remains intact with minor adjustments. All championship dates are subject to change based on championship facility availability.
COLLEGE SPORTS: Patriot League Delays Fall Sports Activities
The Patriot League became the second collegiate conference on the Football Championship Subdivision level to announce that fall sports will be — at minimum — postponed until the spring, following the lead of the Ivy League. Two notable differences is that the Patriot League is the first FCS conference that participates in the national playoffs to announce it will not be playing this fall, while both Army and Navy will be allowed to have athletic competition “because the United States Military Academy and the United States Naval Academy are unique in their environments and their missions within higher education.”
The Patriot League’s official statement included the note that decisions on winter and spring sports will be made at a later date. The conference’s core members include American University, Army, Boston University, Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross, Lafayette, Lehigh, Loyola (Maryland) and Navy. The most notable football game that will be canceled in the fall is the annual Lafayette vs. Lehigh game; it will be the first time the teams have not played since 1896 and only the second time they will not meet in a calendar year since the rivalry started in 1884.
RUNNING: Chicago Marathon Latest Endurance Race to be Canceled
The Chicago Marathon has been canceled for 2020 with all race activities postponed in response to the ongoing public health concerns brought on by COVID-19.
“In regard to the unique set of circumstances surrounding the decision to cancel the 2020 race, the event has put into place an exception to our standard event policies,” the organizers said in a statement. Each registered participant will have the option to receive a refund for their 2020 entry or to defer their place and entry fee to a future edition.
Sunday, July 12
COLLEGE SPORTS: Pac-12 Conference Eliminates Fall Non-Conference Games
The Pac-12 Conference has followed the Big Ten’s lead and become the second Power 5 Conference to change its fall sports schedules to conference-only play due to Covid-19.
Football, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball will be played solely within the conference, “provided it can meet the health and safety needs of its student-athletes and obtain appropriate permissions from state and local health authorities.”
Revised schedules will be announced no later than July 31. Among the nonconference games that will be wiped from the schedule include two high-profile games involving the University of Southern California between its opener on September 5 against Alabama in Arlington, Texas, and also its traditional game against Notre Dame, which will not be held for the first time since 1945.
Thursday, July 9
COLLEGE SPORTS: Big Ten Conference Going Conference-Only in Fall Sports
The Big Ten Conference has made the biggest move in adjusting the collegiate fall sports landscape, announcing that it will be having only conference games in all fall sports and canceling non-conference events — while also not making a guarantee that even conference games would be held because of the shifting landscape resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
While obviously having an impact on all fall sports, football clearly has the biggest national impact. High-profile non-conference games such as Ohio State at Oregon, Penn State at Virginia Tech, Michigan at Washington and Notre Dame versus Wisconsin at Lambeau Field in Green Bay are affected.
There are a total of 36 scheduled games involving Big Ten schools that will be affected overall and six teams — Ball State, Bowling Green, BYU, Central Michigan, Connecticut and Northern Illinois — were scheduled to play two games this season against Big Ten teams. According to USA Today, Big Ten non-conference opponents stood to earn a total of $22.2 million in payouts.
The Big Ten’s statement said the decision was made between meetings from the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee along with the presidents and chancellors plus athletic directors from each of the member schools. All summer activities will be voluntary and any athlete who decides not to compete this fall will have their scholarship honored by their institution.
The Big Ten’s decision comes after the ACC announced the delay of its fall sports events until September 1 at the earliest and one day after the Ivy League announced all fall sports would be canceled.
NFL: Baltimore Ravens Confirm Attendance Cap for 2020 Season
The Baltimore Ravens announced that if they are permitted under state and local government rules and regulations to have fans attend games in 2020, a significantly reduced seating capacity of fewer than 14,000 per game at M&T Bank Stadium would be necessary based on the social distancing guidelines and fan safety protocols.
The Ravens are the first to announce an exact cap on attendances. M&T Bank Stadium’s capacity for the Ravens is 71,008.
In an email to Permanent Seat License owners, the Baltimore Ravens announced that season tickets for 2020 will be deferred to the 2021 campaign and 2020 season ticket seat locations for all fans will be protected, and the same seats will be offered for renewal in 2021. Credits for funds paid toward the 2020 season to date will be applied to accounts and can be used toward renewal for next season or toward future ticket purchases, or a refund can be requested.
Several teams including the New York Giants, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers are offering refunds for season ticket holders as teams prepare for reduced capacities this season. The Green Bay Packers announced they would look to reduce the capacity at Lambeau Field and anybody who is allowed in the stands will be required to wear face masks.
SOCCER: Second Team Removed from MLS is Back Tournament
Major League Soccer announced an updated format and schedule for the MLS is Back Tournament after Nashville SC was withdrawn from the competition. Since arriving in Orlando, nine players on Nashville have had confirmed positive test results for COVID-19.
As a result of the earlier withdrawal of Dallas and then Nashville on Thursday, MLS has reconfigured the groups into six groups, each consisting of four teams, as well as an update to the qualification for the Knockout Stage. The Chicago Fire will move from Group A to Group B in the tournament, joining San Jose, Seattle and Vancouver so that each of the six groups have four teams. After 16 days of group stage matches, the top two teams from each group along with the four best third-place finishers will move on to the knockout stage, which begins July 25.
COLLEGE SPORTS: ACC Delays Start of Fall Sports
The Atlantic Coast Conference will delay the start of all fall sports except football until at least September 1, the league’s board of directors have announced. The ACC’s football schedule is scheduled to start September 2 when North Carolina State visits Louisville.
The ACC’s decision to delay the start of fall sports is the first by a Power 5 conference. The Patriot League has pushed its start back until September 4 and the Ivy League announced the cancellation of all fall sports on Wednesday. The delay includes all exhibition and non-conference games in men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball.
Wednesday, July 8
COLLEGE ATHLETICS: Ivy League Postpones All Fall Athletics
The Ivy League, which was the first collegiate league to cancel its college basketball tournament and spurred a series of actions that led to the cancellation of all NCAA winter and spring championships because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will postpone all fall athletic competition with no certainty on if those sports will be able to compete in the spring. Futhermore, all winter sports activities until January 1 will be postponed.
A decision on the remaining winter and spring sports competition calendar, and on whether fall sport competition would be feasible in the spring, will be determined at a later date.
The announcement had been expected with various reports indicating that football, in particular, could be played in the spring if conditions improve.
The Ivy League’s decision is not the first adjustment for college football, although all Football Bowl Subdivision teams are still on track to play a full schedule. The Patriot Leagu announced in June that its fall sports, including football would play league competition but travel by airplane would not be permitted. Fordham’s football program has canceled its first three games including a September 12 game at Hawaii. Last week, Lafayette canceled its season-opening game at Navy.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Northwestern Moves Game Out of Wrigley Field
Northwestern’s scheduled game against the University of Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in Chicago, scheduled for November 7, will not be played at the home of the Chicago Cubs after consultation with the Cubs, state and local authorities, the Big Ten Conference and in consideration of challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic. In 2010, Northwestern and the Cubs brought college football to Wrigley Field for the first time since 1938 with a game against Illinois.
GOLF: Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup Rescheduled to Future Years
The Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup golf tournaments have become the latest international events to be rescheduled. The 43rd Ryder Cup, which pits the best American golfers against the top European golfers, had been scheduled for September 22–27 at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin. The event will now be held September 21–26, 2021.
The Presidents Cup had been scheduled for September 30–October 3, 2021, at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. The event, which features the top American golfers against an international team outside of Europe, will now be played September 19-25, 2022.
The moves will have long-term impact on the golf schedule in years to come. All subsequent Ryder Cups are now expected to shift to odd years, with the next two events scheduled for Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome in 2023, and Bethpage Black on Long Island in New York hosting in 2025. Sites for the Ryder Cup are selected through 2037. The Ryder Cup had originally been played in odd years before switching to even years after its postponement in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks.
AUTO RACING: NASCAR Cup Series Schedule Through August Released
NASCAR has announced its schedule of events through August including two additional NASCAR Cup Series doubleheaders and two separate stops on different courses at Daytona International Speedway.
Races scheduled for the Cup Series in August include a doubleheader on August 8–9 at Michigan International Speedway, as well as a road course race at Daytona on August 16 in place of the regularly scheduled road course event at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. The race was moved NASCAR cannot meet New York’s quarantine requirements for out-of-state visitors.
After the August 16 event, the Cup Series will have a doubleheader on August 22–23 at Dover International Speedway before returning to Daytona’s oval on August 29.
RACING: BMX World Championships Canceled
The International Cycling Union has canceled this year’s BMX World Championships in Houston as a result of the coronavirus. Action was scheduled to start May 26 before the event was originally postponed. The UCI also has postponed the Junior Track Cycling World Championship in Cairo until 2021.
“Despite its best efforts to come up with an alternative, the UCI regrets to announce that there will be no UCI World Championships in the discipline in 2020,” a statement said.
Tuesday, July 7
ENDURANCE SPORTS: Louisville Triathlon Canceled
The Louisville Ironman triathlon scheduled for October 11 has been canceled. The event had been held in the region for 13 consecutive years with 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running throughout Louisville, Oldham and Henry Counties. The World Triathlon Corporation, owners and operators of more than 170 Ironman events worldwide, said the full 140.6-mile event would not be held in the foreseeable future in Louisville but there is the potential for Louisville to host a 70.3 event as early as 2022.
NHL: Season to Restart August 1
The race for the Stanley Cup will resume August 1 after the National Hockey League and the NHL Players Association agreed on a full plan for the 2019–2020 season restart and added four years to the current labor agreement, taking the CBA through the 2025–2026 season.
Training camps for teams in phase 3 of the league’s return to play began July 3 ahead of the resumption of games. While the league has not yet made it official, multiple reports have indicated that the two hub cities that will host games in the restart plan — which has 24 teams competing in an expanded playoff formate — will be Edmonton and Toronto.
The CBA extension will also aid the league and union in planning for international and special events such as overseas games, the All-Star Game and Winter Classic. A point of emphasis for players in the extension was the ability to participate in the Olympic Winter Games in both 2022 and 2026. Players from the NHL had participated in five straight Olympics between 1998 and 2014 before skipping the 2018 event in South Korea.
Monday, July 6
SOCCER: FC Dallas Pulls Out of MLS Tournament
Major League Soccer announced that FC Dallas have been withdrawn from the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, Florida, due to 10 players and one member of the technical staff confirmed positive for COVID-19. Each of the tests either occurred upon the club’s arrival or within a few days of arrival.
The decision was made in the interest of the health of players and staff participating and in line with protocols created in conjunction with local and national health authorities and infectious disease experts. Of the 557 players in Orlando, 13 players have been confirmed positive for COVID-19, 10 of those being FC Dallas players and the remaining three from two other clubs.
BASEBALL: MLB Cancels 2020 All-Star Game in Los Angeles
Major League Baseball has canceled its 2020 All-Star Game, which was to be played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles in July. The Dodgers will instead be awarded the 2022 game. (The 2021 event will be staged in Atlanta.)
“Once it became clear we were unable to hold this year’s All-Star festivities, we wanted to award the Dodgers with the next available All-Star Game, which is 2022,” said Commissioner Rob Manfred. “I want to thank the Dodgers organization and the city of Los Angeles for being collaborative partners in the early stages of All-Star preparation and for being patient and understanding in navigating the uncertainty created by the pandemic. The 2022 All-Star celebration promises to be a memorable one with events throughout the city and at picturesque Dodger Stadium.”
“As excited as we were to host this year’s All-Star Game, we know that it will be worth the wait and that Dodger Stadium and Los Angeles will host a world-class event in 2022,” said Dodger President and CEO Stan Kasten. “We’d like to thank Commissioner Rob Manfred for re-awarding All-Star Week to Los Angeles so quickly, as well as Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Gil Cedillo for their continued support of this premier sporting event, which will have lasting benefits for our community.”
GOLF: The Memorial Going Without Fans
The Memorial, one of the biggest non-majors on the PGA Tour calendar each year thanks to tournament host Jack Nicklaus, will not have fans at the event after originally planning for a restricted number of attendees. The decision was announced right as Muirfield Village Golf Club prepares for a two-week swing with the Workday Charity Open this week, followed by the Memorial. After Ohio Governor Mike DeWine approved a phased approach to allowing fans and guests, tournament officials had announced a 20 percent maximum capacity on the property, encompassing patrons and private venues, as well as essential staff needed to operate the event.
Thursday, July 2
FOOTBALL: NFL Will Remove Two Preseason Games
The NFL has reportedly decided to shorten the four-game preseason to just two games per team, according to ESPN. The new schedule will effectively remove the first and the final preseason week of games, leaving each team with one home game and one game on the road.
The league had earlier announced it was canceling its August 8 Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, as well as the enshrinement ceremonies for its 2020 induction class. Under the proposed new preseason schedule, the first games would take place August 20–24 with the second games being held August 27–31.
CYCLING: USA Cycling Cancels Seven National Championships
USA Cycling has announced the cancellation of seven national championships in 2020 after determining that the events could not be held with the uncertainty of the coronavirus in different destinations. USA Cycling intends to provide another update July 31 on five remaining national championships that are still scheduled before the end of the year. The events canceled as a result of the latest announcement are:
USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships
USA Cycling Amateur Road National Championships
USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships
USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championships
USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships
USA Cycling Elite and Junior Track National Championships
USA Cycling Masters Track National Championships
Tuesday, June 30
BASEBALL: Minor Leagues Cancel 2020 Season
Minor League Baseball has announced that it will not have a season in 2020 after Major League Baseball informed the minor leagues that it would not provide its affiliate teams with players for the season—the first time an entire season has been lost since the league was founded in 1901.
The minor league had held out hope of a completing a shortened a season but MiLB President and CEO Pat O’Conner said it wasn’t possible to accomplish.
“These are unprecedented times for our country and our organization as this is the first time in our history that we’ve had a summer without Minor League Baseball played,” O’Conner said. “While this is a sad day for many, this announcement removes the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season and allows our teams to begin planning for an exciting 2021 season of affordable family entertainment.”
International League President Randy Mobley, president of the Triple-A International League that began in 1884, said it will be the first summer in the league’s history that games will not be played. “While we continue to pray for the health and wellbeing of those within our communities, our focus immediately turns to planning and preparing to welcome fans and sponsors back into our fabulous ballparks next April,” he said. “During what will now become an extended off-season from Triple-A Baseball, I encourage fans to stay in tune with activities planned by their local team. Teams in Minor League Baseball are known for their creativity and that is now and will continue to be demonstrated in ways never before explored. From drive-in fireworks shows to family movie nights on the giant videoboards to experiencing “dinner on the diamond,” teams will be finding creative ways to stay engaged with their community.”
PICKLEBALL: National Championship in California Canceled
The effect of the coronavirus pandemic in sports has now reached pickleball as well. USA Pickleball, the sport’s national governing body, announced that in light of the pandemic, the 2020 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships will not take place. The event had been scheduled for the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, from October 31–November 8.
NASCAR: Postseason Awards Event Canceled
NASCAR has announced that it will cancel its postseason Champion’s Week and NASCAR Cup Series Awards, which had been scheduled for Nashville, Tennessee.
In a statement, the league said, “With the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus and the impact on the industry, this year’s NASCAR Champion’s Week and NASCAR Cup Series Awards originally scheduled to take place in Nashville will not occur. The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series champions will be celebrated at the end of the season with more details to come. We look forward to returning to Nashville in 2021.”
Monday, June 29
TENNIS: Davis Cup and Fed Cup Rescheduled to 2021
The International Tennis Federation has announced that the 2020 Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals will be postponed until 2021, and that the 2020 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals will be rescheduled for 2021 in Budapest, Hungary.
The decision to move the Davis Cup Finals to the week of November 22, 2021—still in Madrid—came after months of review and were attributable to regulatory challenges that have arisen as a result of the pandemic. The finals mark the pinnacle of the largest men’s international team competition in tennis. The event had been scheduled to see the world’s best 18 national teams competing for the Davis Cup title over one week in Madrid in November 2020.
The Fed Cup is the women’s equivalent and the finals were originally scheduled to be competed in April.
Laszlo Papp Arena in Hungary was unavailable to host later in 2020 and the same regulatory challenges are facing the indoor gathering as well. The event features the top 12 nations competing over a week of competition. The 2021 event will be staged April 13–18.
MOTORSPORTS: Indy 500 Hopes to be at 50 Percent Capacity
When the Indy 500 races on its new August 23, organizers hope to have spectators in the stands at 50 percent of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s capacity. IMS president Doug Boles sent an email to ticket holders last week saying the aim is “to accommodate at least 50 percent of your original ticket quantities in or near your current seating location.” With its suites, grandstands and infield tickets, the race typically can sell 350,000 tickets, leading the potential number of spectators at 175,000 for the race.
SURVEY: Parents Ready to See Kids Return to Play
Phoenix-based Huddle Up Group has released results of a new second-round survey focused on parents of young athletes that play travel sports that concludes that parents are more confident in putting their children back into sports than they were a month ago—76.6 percent in June compared with 61.7 percent in May. The consulting firm surveyed more than 2,700 people in its first survey and included a “select portion” of those who initially responded to the first study in its second survey.
“Most of the survey results were consistent with the responses from a month ago,” said Huddle Up Group Founder CEO Jon Schmieder. “However there were several subtle shifts that host destinations and event owners should pay attention to going forward. These parents are essentially the decision makers for their kids, and thusly our primary client in the end, so we need to make sure we are all in tune with their viewpoints on the issues of safety.”
Among other findings:
- Parents were the most confident in putting their kids back into sports in September with 84.8 percent stating they would feel safe to do so by then (an increase of 7 percentage points).
- Parents have less confidence in their kids returning to play after September, with the confidence percentage falling more than four points to 80.2 percent.
- When comparing the two studies, sentiment for regional drive market events versus longer trips (including flights) were relatively flat.
- Social distancing remains parents’ primary concerns before letting their kids participate, with temperature testing second.
Friday, June 26
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Morehouse College Cancels Football Season
Morehouse College in Atlanta has become one of the first universities to announce it will not play football in the fall. In an open letter, university President David Thomas, said the historically Black college would not participate in any NCAA or Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Division II sports this fall. The move also affects the school’s cross-country team. All athletic scholarships will still be honored, he said.
“Like all of the decisions we’ve made related to COVID-19, this was a difficult one but was made with the health and well-being of our students and community in mind,” Thomas wrote. “It follows my intention to maintain a safe campus in hopes that our students will be able to return in August. Our Maroon Tiger teams travel to other NCAA institutions and cannot compete without breaking from social distancing guidelines still maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sporting events also invite individuals to our campus who will not be subject to the testing and monitoring that we plan to implement for our students, faculty, and staff.”
Thursday, June 25
AUTO RACING: IndyCar Welcomes Fans to Iowa Speedway
The IndyCar Series will have a limited number of fans for its REV Group Grand Prix at the RoadAmerica course in Wisconsin during the race weekend scheduled for July 9–12.
All guests will be screened in their vehicles with contactless temperature checks before entering the parking areas, and only essential racing personnel will have access to the paddock. A PPE kit that includes a face mask as well as hand sanitizer will be provided to each guest upon arrival. The race weekend will feature two full points races for the IndyCar Series July 11 and 12. All active-duty first responders including law enforcement, fire, paramedics and emergency medical technicians will be admitted free of charge by showing valid identification.
IndyCar previously announced that it will have a limited number of fans at a doubleheader of races on July 17–18 at Iowa Speedway with the Iowa IndyCar 250 on back-to-back nights while Mark Miles, the president and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp., has told Indiana media that the Indianapolis 500 will race as currently scheduled in August only if fans are allowed in attendance — and if not in August, then the race will be delayed again. A Fourth of July race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course will run without spectators.
SOCCER: CONCACAF Qualifying To Be Modified
CONCACAF will revise its World Cup qualifying format following FIFA’s decision to remove September dates from the international calendar. The hexagonal competition was scheduled to have two games each in September, October and November, followed by two matches apiece in March and September of 2021. The U.S. was to have been in the six-nation hexagonal with Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica and either El Salavdor or Canada.
Among the possible alternate formats under discussion would be having three groups of four, much like the old semifinal round. The group winners would qualify for the 2022 tournament in Qatar, and there would be playoff opportunities for some teams that don’t finish first. The U.S., Mexico and Costa Rica would be placed in different groups.
HORSE RACING: Kentucky Derby Allows Fans Under Strict Guidelines
Churchill Downs announced that after consultation with Governor Andy Beshear and state public health officials, the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks will occur with spectators under strict guidelines. The Oaks will take place September 4 and the Kentucky Derby on September 5.
Among the steps that will be taken to protect fan safety include venue capacity reductions with access throughout the facility severely limited; barn area access restricted to essential personnel; a revised Fan Code of Conduct that will encourage those on the grounds to wear masks at all times; and changes to in-venue operations to limit person-to-person touchpoints.
“The impact of the Kentucky Derby extends well beyond the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery. “It is an incredibly important time for the city of Louisville and the Commonwealth of Kentucky both culturally, economically and with respect to our time-honored traditions. Both employees and guests are asked to take an active role in following all guidelines. We must all do our part to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.”
Tickets purchased for the originally scheduled Kentucky Derby Week dates are valid for the new dates. Guests may arrive on the new dates in September with their printed ticket or mobile ticket to be scanned for entry at the gates.
NFL: Hall of Fame Game Canceled
The NFL Hall of Fame Game between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers has been canceled, according to NFL Network and ESPN. The game was scheduled for August 6 and the Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony in Canton, Ohio, on August 8 has been postponed to 2021. Hall of Fame president David Baker previously said the game and ceremony were on as scheduled, but there were contingencies in place if postponement was necessary. It is the biggest event the NFL has had to cancel because of the coronavirus.
Wednesday, June 24
BASEBALL: MLB Sets Long-Awaited Return Date
Play Ball … finally.
Major League Baseball will start a truncated 60-game season on either July 23 or 24 in empty ballparks after a drawn-out saga amid the coronavirus pandemic that included months of acrimony and public posturing.
The season will include bringing the designated hitter to games between National League teams for the first time and instituting the radical innovation of starting extra innings with a runner on second base. Players will start reporting for the resumption of training on July 1. Every team but one is planning to have training at their regular-season ballpark; the Toronto Blue Jays have to get permission from the Canadian government.
Each team will play 10 games against each of its four division rivals and 20 total games against the five clubs in the corresponding regional division in the other league, according to The Associated Press. This will be MLB’s shortest season since 1878. No decision has been made on whether fans can attend games.
RUNNING: New York City Marathon Canceled
The New York City Marathon has been canceled. This year’s event on November 1 was set to be the 50th running of the event, which began in 1970 and has grown to become the world’s largest marathon with 53,640 finishers in 2019. Marathons have had a tough go of the marketplace during the pandemic. The Berlin Marathon was canceled on Wednesday and earlier this month the 124th annual Boston Marathon, an April tradition that this year was rescheduled for September 14 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was canceled outright.
TENNIS: USTA Brings Back Wheelchair Competition
The USTA has reversed course on an earlier decision to cancel the wheelchair competition at the U.S. Open in New York and will stage the event September 10–13 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
When the governing body announced last week that it would stage the U.S. Open without spectators, it had decided to eliminate several other disciplines normally staged during the competition. The move drew criticism from the International Paralympic Committee, among others, who said they weren’t consulted beforehand on the decision. The move to reinstate the competition was made following multiple virtual meetings with a group of wheelchair athletes and the International Tennis Federation over the last week.
The wheelchair competition will now feature men’s and women’s singles and doubles and quad singles and doubles, with draw sizes similar to past U.S. Opens. Wheelchair athletes that compete will have to adhere to the same health and safety procedures as all players participating in the U.S. Open.
Monday, June 22
SOCCER: Outbreak Forces Orlando Pride Out of NWSL Tournament
The National Women’s Soccer League’s tournament will be an eight-team affair instead of nine after six players and four staffers with the Orlando Pride tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the team’s withdrawl from the event in Utah. The NWSL will become the first professional league in the United States to return to competition with the Challenge Cup starting June 27 with group stage games at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah, with the semifinals and finals held at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. All housing, training, and competition needs for teams will be created in the Salt Lake Valley as an “NWSL Village” to control as much of the environment as possible.
GOLF: PGA Championship a Go in San Francisco
The 2020 PGA Championship will be held August 3–9 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco without spectators, the city of San Francisco and PGA of America confirmed. The decision to play without spectators was made in coordination with the state of California and city and county of San Francisco. Prior to its postponement on March 17, the PGA Championship was scheduled for May 14-17.
“Welcoming the PGA Championship to San Francisco is the high point of a very unusual year. We are looking forward to sharing the beauty of TPC Harding Park and San Francisco with the players, the media and viewers all over the world,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of the San Francisco Travel Association, the official destination marketing organization.
Friday, June 19
VOLLEYBALL: AVP Tour Moves Season to Three Events in Long Beach
The AVP Tour will scrap its 2020 season in place of an event series to be held in Long Beach, California, over three weekend in July and August. The AVP Champions Cup Series, Presented by Acer, will begin on July 18–19, and continue July 25–26 and August 1–2. The event will feature an eight-team main draw and each weekend will offer a $200,000 purse plus a $100,000 bonus pool for teams with the top finishes.
The matches will be closed to spectators but will be live-streamed on Amazon Prime Video. NBC will also present an early round men’s match on July 18 and the women’s final on July 19. NBCSN will air one finals match in the second and third weekends, respectively, which will also be simulcast on Amazon Prime Video.
MOTORSPORTS: Pike Peaks Hill Climb Closed to Spectators
The 98th running of The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado Springs, Colorado, will be held without spectators. The motorsports race up Pikes Peak had earlier been moved from its traditional June dates to August 30. While the event will still take place in August, organizers have opted to prohibit spectators after input from state and local authorities.
“For the first time, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will be staged without its loyal, enthusiastic fans lining the course and no one is more disappointed than we are,” said Executive Director Megan Leatham. “Our staff and board of directors have discussed and analyzed multiple scenarios in which our race could be staged. However, with the government-issued long-term mandates for wearing personal protective equipment, providing appropriate social distancing, and limiting the size of group gatherings, we feel it is impossible to safely host spectators at the race on August 30.”
A popular downtown street festival has also been canceled. “We typically welcome over 30,000 fans but in light of current government guidelines we feel it would be irresponsible to hold the event this year,” Leatham said. “The risk to our competitors, sponsors, volunteers and our fans is just too high.”
“Despite this unforeseen challenge, our iconic motorsports event has proven its ability to adapt and endure, and it will continue to do so this summer, next year, and in preparation for the 100th Running in 2022,” said Board Chairman Tom Osborne.
Thursday, June 18
ENDURANCE SPORTS: USA Triathlon Cancels Age Group, Youth and Junior Nationals
USA Triathlon has canceled the Toyota USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships, scheduled for August 8–9 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, have been canceled due to current local government guidelines surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The cancellation was required after the City of Milwaukee informed USA Triathlon that it is unable to guarantee a permit for the event weekend due to ongoing state and local restrictions on gatherings.
“While we are disappointed to have to cancel the marquee event on USA Triathlon’s National Championships calendar, health and safety concerns take precedence in this challenging time,” said Brian D’Amico, USA Triathlon director of events. “We are pleased to be able to offer deferrals to the 2021 or 2022 Age Group National Championships without the need to re-qualify, or to another USA Triathlon-owned event in 2021 or 2022. We appreciate our community’s patience and understanding during this unprecedented time, and we look forward to gathering again in Milwaukee next August.”
The Toyota USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships will return to Milwaukee the next two years, including August 7–8, 2021 and August 6–7, 2022.
“We are deeply disappointed that our beautiful shores of Lake Michigan will not play host to the 2020 USA Triathlon AGNC,” said Peggy Williams-Smith, president and CEO of Visit Milwaukee. “Our city is an ideal destination to host this event, but we understand the need to put the safety of the athletes and Milwaukeeans first during this unique time in our history. We thank USA Triathlon for their partnership and graciously agreeing to host both the 2021 and 2022 Championships in Milwaukee. Sports Milwaukee, championed by Visit Milwaukee, looks forward to welcoming the triathletes back for the next two years.”
USA Triathlon also will be canceling its 2020 Youth & Junior Nationals, initially scheduled for August 1–2 in West Chester, Ohio. The Youth & Junior Nationals will return to West Chester’s Voice of America Park on July 31 and August 1, 2021, as well as 2022 with dates to be determined.
Wednesday, June 17
ACTION SPORTS: Dew Tour Set for 2021 Return to Long Beach
In light of the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Summer Games and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dew Tour’s annual summer skateboard competition in Long Beach, California, will now be held May 2021 and serve as the last Olympic qualifying event in the U.S. before the Tokyo Games. In June 2019, Dew Tour served as the first global Olympic qualifying event in the U.S. for men’s and women’s skateboard street and park competitions.
“Postponing the Dew Tour Long Beach weekend until 2021 is the best decision to ensure the safety of our athletes, fans, partners, vendors, and staff during these unprecedented times,” said Courtney Gresik, Dew Tour vice president and general manager. “The Dew Tour remains committed to the progression of skateboarding, furthering awareness and appreciation of the sport as we lead up to the 2021 Olympic Games. We look forward to our return to Long Beach in 2021 for a weekend packed with fun, excitement, and Olympic-level competition that our fans have come to expect from our events.”
TENNIS: ATP, WTA Tours Schedule Returns
The two major professional tennis tours released their schedules for a modified 2020 season, including the two Grand Slams remaining between the traditional dates for the U.S. Open and the rescheduled French Open.
The ATP Tour will resume action on August 14 with the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. After the Western & Southern Open and U.S. Open in New York, the men’s tour will go to Europe for three clay-court events before the French Open starts September 27. Further events beyond the French Open are expected to be announced in mid-July.
The WTA Tour will restart its season August 3 with the Palermo Ladies Open in Italy. After its swing into the United States for the tournaments in New York, the tour will go back to Europe with events in Turkey, Spain, Italy and then the French Open. The WTA Tour’s schedule release extends through the end of the year with a full swing through Asia during the fall.
SOCCER: Champions League Finish Modified
The UEFA Champions League finish will be modified into a knockout format tournament with the championship August 23 in Lisbon, Portugal, instead of Turkey.
Matches will be held at two stadiums in Lisbon for the tournament, which was suspended in March. The quarterfinals will be held August 12–15, with the semifinals on August 18–19. Four teams have already advanced to the quarterfinals before the round of 16 was suspended; the remaining round of 16 home-and-home matches will be held August 7-8 but it has not yet been decided if they will also be in Portugal.
The Europa League will be finished from the quarterfinal stage through the championship in the same format from August 10–21 in Germany, with the championship in Cologne.
Tuesday, June 16
NASCAR: All-Star Race Moves to Bristol
Bristol Motor Speedway will have modified event procedures and protocols which will include social distancing amongst groups of fans in the grandstands and individually in concession lines; enhanced cleaning and sanitation in high-touch, high-traffic public areas; added hand-sanitizer stations; limited guests in suites; and infield admission for race team and operation personnel only. Fans will be allowed to bring in one soft-sided clear bag with food and beverage and coolers will be prohibited.
This year’s all-star event will be the second time it has been run at a facility other than Charlotte Motor Speedway, joining Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1986.
GOLF: LPGA Tour Schedules Return to Play
The LPGA Tour will resume its season with back-to-back events in Northwest Ohio starting July 23 with the Marathon LPGA Classic at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio. That event will be followed by a new three-day event in the Toledo area, the LPGA Drive On Championship starting July 31 at Inverness Club. The LPGA Drive On Championship will feature 144 players competing for a $1 million purse and will take place without sponsors, pro-ams or spectators.
SURFING: US Open Canceled for 2020
The 2020 Vans US Open of Surfing presented by Swatch in Huntington Beach Pier, California, has been canceled. Event organizers said in a statement they look forward to returning to southside of the Huntington Beach Pier in 2021.
“The Vans US Open of Surfing has always been about bringing people together in a healthy, fun and interactive environment and given the size and scale of the event, we can’t see a way to do that this year without sacrificing the very thing that makes it so special,” said Jennifer Lau, vice president of action sports at IMG. “This event would not be the same without the amazing surf, skate, and BMX fans who come out to connect and have fun year after year. We can’t wait to return in 2021 and will be working harder than ever to stage another world-class event at Huntington Beach next summer.”
TENNIS: USTA Confirms U.S. Open To Be Held
The United States Tennis Association will hold the U.S. Open as scheduled starting August 31 in New York City at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center as part of a doubleheader of events with the Western & Southern Open, a combined men’s and women’s event traditionally held in Ohio, moved to New York City to serve as a warmup for players who have been inactive for months. According to The New York Times, players at the U.S. Open will be frequently tested for coronavirus and be kept together in a hotel with some restrictions to their movements outside of the hotel and tournament site. There would be no fans on site and players would be restricted in how many people they would be able to bring with them to the tournament.
Monday, June 15
BASKETBALL: WNBA Tips Off in July
The WNBA has announced elements of its plan to begin the 2020 season, which will start in July with all games and playoffs held at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The season will be 22 games for each team in the regular season followed by a traditional playoff format. IMG Academy will be the home for all 12 teams and serve as a single site for training camp, games and housing. The league will continue working with medical specialists, public health experts and government officials on guidelines to ensure that medical protocols and protections are in place. Under the current plan, teams will report to IMG Academy in early July and regular-season action will tip off in late July after a team training camp period. The season will be played without fans in attendance with games broadcast on ESPN, CBS Sports Network and NBA TV.
Friday, June 12
TRIATHLON: USA Triathlon Cancels California Event
USA Triathlon has canceled its 2020 Legacy Triathlon, Open Water Swim Competition and Long Beach PATCO Sprint Triathlon American Cup, which had been scheduled for July 17–19 in Long Beach, California. Local government guidelines surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic caused the national governing body to call off the event, as well as the Toyota USA Paratriathlon National Championships, which were scheduled for July 18 as part of the same event weekend. That event is expected to have a new date and location in 2020.
The Legacy Triathlon will return to Long Beach in 2021. The event is designed to be an annual competition to draw on interest from the upcoming 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles. The event, first held in 2019, is held at Alamitos Beach, which is expected to host triathlon events at the Games.
Thursday, June 11
COLLEGE SPORTS: Pac-12 Commissioner Says Football is Ready as Scheduled
Pac-12 Conference Commissioner Larry Scott said during an interview this week that “it’s our objective if it can be done safely to play a full college football season,” and that Power 5 commissioners are in constant contact to make sure that each league is able to start on time, adding “we’re all locked at the hip.”
Scott was interviewed by Bonnie Bernstein during the webinar event “Cynopsis: The Great Sports Disruption.” When it comes to college football, “if we want a full season and a playoff at the end, we all have to agree that we’re going to start the season together,” Scott said. “It’s going to require a huge level of collaboration.”
The issue of if a team has an outbreak of COVID-19 and how that would affect the schedule has not been determined just yet, Scott said, but they are being discussed.
“If it gets to point where you don’t have enough players to participate, that decision will be made by the school with the conference office,” Scott said. “One scenario we’re thinking about is whether there will be a buffer of couple of weeks at the end of the season in case games need to be made up. In other words, we could start on time — but there could be a spike during the season, a second wave as people are describing it. There could be an issue that a particular team has that could cause a game to be rescheduled. There’s a lot of scenario planning going on in that regard.”
Scott said that for foreign student-athletes who would have to quarantine after coming back to campus that it would be a decision made by individual conference schools rather than a blanket policy dictated by the league office. He added that for athletes who are not comfortable playing because of any risk of infection, “(Our university presidents) have been very clear that we need to be respectful of any decision made by any of our student-athletes and their families if they’re not comfortable.”
LACROSSE: PLL Event Coming to Utah
The Premier Lacrosse League’s two-week tournament without fans starting July 25 will be held at Zion’s Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah, the same site for most of the NWSL Tournament that will be starting June 27. The PLL event will have seven teams playing in a 14-game group format for the first week, then having single-elimination play the second week. The league will implement COVID-19 preventative measures and restrict travel in and out of the event with an estimated 300 people on site in total.
BASKETBALL: TBT Heading to Columbus
The Basketball Tournament will be held at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, starting July 4 with the entire event held at one site and broadcast on ESPN. TBT, as it’s commonly referred to, is a winner-take-all tournament with more than $1 million at stake. It will be a 24-team tournament. TBT founder and CEO Jon Mugar told ESPN last month that they plan is to have a maximum of 50 people in the gym at one time.
ENDURANCE SPORTS: Xterra World Championship Canceled
The 25th annual Xterra World Championship in Maui scheduled for November 8 and the 13th annual Xterra Trail Run World Championship half-marathon on Oahu on December 6 have been cancelled. The decision comes after several other events this summer in Avon, Colorado; Pelham, Alabama, and Utah were also canceled.
Wednesday, June 10
SOCCER: MLS Tournament Starting July 8
Major League Soccer will return to action with a tournament starting July 8 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. The league started its much-hyped 25th year of competition in March before the season was suspended after two weeks.
The tournament will go from July 8 through August 11 with all 26 teams competing in a World Cup-style tournament. There will be a group stage with six groups; the Western Conference will have three four-team groups and the Eastern Conference will have three groups, two with four teams apiece and one with six teams. Each team will play three group games, with the top two in each group moving to the knockout round and the four best third-place finishers also advancing.
After the group stage, the round of 16 will be July 25–28 followed by the quarterfinals on July 30–August 1, semifinals on August 5–6 and championship on August 11. The group stage games will count toward the MLS regular season standings. MLS previously canceled its All-Star Game against the Liga MX All-Stars in Los Angeles as well as two other intra-league competitions between it and Mexico’s top league, the Leagues Cup and Campeones Cup.
AMATEUR SPORTS: AAU Junior Olympics Heading to Brevard County
The AAU Junior Olympic Games will be heading to Brevard County, Florida. Space Coast Office of Tourism Executive Director Peter Cranis confirmed the news to Florida Today.
Cranis said he expects up to 15 sports will be contested at the event during the last week in July and the first week in August. There will be up to 3,000 athletes competing with as many as 10,000 room nights. Cranis said Brevard School District and Brevard County Parks and Recreation Department venues will be used to host the event. The AAU Junior Olympic Games, held annually since 1967, will be moving from its scheduled site of Hampton Roads, Virginia.
GOLF: LPGA Major in France Cancelled
The Evian Championship women’s major golf tournament in France has been canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak, the first LPGA major to do so this season. Tournament chairman Franck Riboud says the cancellation is “unavoidable in view of the situation with regards to U.S. travel to continental Europe.” The Women’s British Open is still set for August 20–23 in Troon, Scotland. The three majors played in the United States have been rescheduled for later in the year.
Tuesday, June 9
COLLEGE SPORTS: NCAA Plans Football Workout Schedule, Fall Championships
The NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee is expected to approve a six-week practice calendar this week, reported Sports Illustrated, which would be another sign that the college football season plans to start on schedule. The NCAA began allowing voluntary workouts on June 1 but not every school started on that date. The four-phased plan includes six weeks of workouts with preseason camps starting in August. The earliest coaches could start interacting with players is July 6. The report comes as the NCAA announced that it plans to keep the same dates and sites for the NCAA fall championships as already scheduled. The NCAA Competition Oversight Committee made the announcement today, though it did note that the situation could still be fluid. Championships in fall sports are currently scheduled from November 20 through January 11.
Friday, June 5
ARCHERY: World Archery Field Championships in South Dakota Moved to 2022
World Archery, the sports’ international federation, has rescheduled its 2020 World Archery Field Championships in Yankton, South Dakota, to 2022. The event had been scheduled for September 2020 at the NFAA Easton Yankton Archery Center, which is the largest dedicated archery venue in the world. The venue has previously hosted world youth and indoor championships as well. Officials had considered a one-year postponement but other events in 2021 made the dates difficult. In addition, the 2020 event had been scheduled to serve as a qualifying event for the 2021 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, but that event has also been rescheduled for 2022. The reshuffling will result in a new qualifying event for the World Games to be announced later. While the field archery world championship has been moved, the Yankton venue is still scheduled to host the 2021 Hyundai World Archery Championships.
Thursday, June 4
BASKETBALL: NBA Restart Plan Approved by Owners, but G League Cancelled
The NBA board of governors approved a plan that will restart the league in late July with all games held at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports complex on the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida. The players union is expected to give its approval to the plan on Friday.
The regular season would start around July 31 and have eight games for all 22 teams invited to Florida to determine playoff seeding. There would be 13 teams from the Western Conference and nine teams from the Eastern Conference participating, with the cutoff that teams must be within six games of a playoff spot to participate. The playoffs would then begin in August and the NBA Finals would stretch into the fall with the NBA Finals finishing on or before October 12. For an NBA play-in series to happen to determine the No. 8 seed on either playoff bracket, the ninth-place team would have to be within four games of eighth place once the eight-game schedule is completed.
While the NBA season will resume, the remainder of the 2019-20 G League season, which was suspended March 12, has been canceled. The regular season was scheduled to conclude March 28.
NASCAR: Cup Series Schedule Update Released
NASCAR released its latest set of scheduled races, with 23 across its three series including seven Cup Series events that would carry the season through August 2. The schedule also includes six Xfinity Series races, five Trucks Series races and three ARCA events.
Among the finalized dates for the Cup Series are a doubleheader on June 27–28 at Pocono Speedway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania; July 5 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was part of an IndyCar/NASCAR doubleheader race weekend; July 12 at Kentucky Speedway; the NASCAR All-Star Open non-points race on July 15 at Charlotte Motor Speedway; July 19 at Texas Motor Speedway and July 23 at Kansas Speedway before an August 2 race at New Hampshire Speedway.
HOCKEY: NHL Playoff Format Further Detailed
The National Hockey League and players union agreed that the qualifying round for its Stanley Cup playoff tournament will be a best-of-five series with the remainder of the playoffs a best-of-seven series. The league announced that the tournament will be reseeded after every round.
The playoffs this year will be expanded to 24 teams from the traditional 16, with an eight-team qualifying round and a round-robin competition among the league’s top four teams to determine seeding for the official First Round. The top four teams in each conference will play each other once to determine the order of the top four seeds in the first round of the playoffs while at the same time, a qualifying round will also go on in each conference. The round-robin games will be played with regular season rules regarding overtime and shootouts, while the qualifying round games will be played with playoff overtime rules.
Candidates for the hub cities that will be used for the playoffs include Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Vancouver. There will be two cities picked from that list. The league has not yet determined which cities will host. Negotiations will continue with the players on health and safety protocols.
• The National Lacrosse League has announced that it will not continue its 2019–2020 season. The indoor lacrosse league had suspended its regular season on March 12 and announced the cancellation of its regular season on April 6. The new announcement will eliminate a postseason or the crowing of a champion.
• Organizers of the 42nd annual BOLDERBoulder in Colorado have announced that the 2020 race, which had been postponed from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, is canceled and will be rescheduled for Memorial Day 2021. Participants already registered will be offered options and alternatives for the 2021 BOLDERBoulder and beyond.
• The PGA Tour will hold an additional tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, to take the place of an event scheduled for Iowa that was canceled. The tour said the event will take place July 9–12 on the week preceding the already scheduled Memorial Tournament that will be at the same location. The event will be played without spectators and takes the place of the recently canceled John Deere Classic, which will return to the schedule next year. The tour hoped to allow fans at the John Deere Classic in the Quad Cities area, but has announced that local and state-related restrictions on gatherings will cause the event to be canceled.
• A scheduled August 29 college football game between Notre Dame and Navy for Dublin, Ireland, will instead be played at Annapolis, Maryland, at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Labor Day Weekend. The teams played at Aviva Stadium in 2012 with more than 35,000 fans traveling from the United States. In 2020, around 40,000 people from the U.S. were expected to attend. Both programs plan for a return to Ireland in the coming years. The rescheduled site will be the first time that Notre Dame will play on Navy’s home field in the rivalry’s 94-year history.
• Formula 1 will start its season on July 5 with a race in Austria as part of an eight-race trek throughout Europe that includes two doubleheader events. The season starts with the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, followed a week later on July 12 by a second race at the same track. After the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 19, there will be a one-week break before consecutive weekends August 2 and August 9 at Silverstone in England, then the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona on August 16, the Belgian Grand Prix on August 30 and the Italian Grand Prix on September 6. None of the events will be open to fans. The circuit says it plans to race at least 15 times this year, with further races throughout the world to be announced at a later date.
• The Maryland Cycling Classic, scheduled for its debut on the UCI Pro Series calendar in September, will be postponed to 2021. The announcement was made by the event organizer with state, city and Baltimore County partners. Organizers also announced UnitedHealthcare has signed on as the presenting sponsor of the race starting in 2021. The UCI, cycling’s international federation, will announce its 2021 calendar later this year with the event’s date announced at that time. The event is owned by Sport and Entertainment Corp. of Maryland in conjunction with the Maryland Sports Commission.
• Burton Snowboards announced that the company will cancel the 2021 Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships, which was scheduled for March 1–6, 2021, at Vail Mountain Resort in Vail, Colorado. The Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships is the world’s longest-running snowboard event and Burton has owned and run the event since 1983.
• Miami Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross told CNBC in an interview that “I think there definitely will be a football season this year,” and that he plans to have fans in the stadium. The NFL has not made a decision on whether to allow fans into stadiums during the 2020 season, but the league plans to play its full 16-game slate starting September 10. The league announced when it released the schedule that it will schedule all 2020 games in the United States and will not have games in Mexico City or London. Ross’ comments came the Pittsburgh Steelers’ director of communications said on Twitter that only 50 percent of individual game tickets will be sold to the public because the team wants to be prepared for social distancing scenarios.
• World TeamTennis will play its 45th annual season at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, starting July 12 with up to 500 fans allowed at the outdoor matches. The schedule will include at least three matches per day at The Greenbrier’s 2,500-seat outdoor stadium, with an indoor court to be installed as a backup option, for the league’s nine franchises. World TeamTennis said in a release it “will engage with its teams and league and venue personnel in conducting all necessary testing and screening for COVID-19, as well as outfitting all parties with the personal protective equipment necessary to conduct its 2020 season matches while preserving the health and safety of everyone at The Greenbrier over the three-week season.”
• The 2021 World Transplant Games, scheduled for May 29–June 5 in Houston, have been canceled. The announcement was made jointly by the Harris County—Houston Sports Authority and the World Transplant Games Federation. The 2021 Games would have been the first held in the United States in 41 years. The event was expected to draw more than 4,000 participants.
• USA BMX will relaunch its National Championship Series with the inaugural Nabholz Bounce Back Nationals in Pryor, Oklahoma, at Mayes County BMX on June 5–7. USA BMX has worked with local and state officials to ensure the event can be hosted while addressing concerns of social distancing, sanitation, customer interaction and other event specific modifications.
• USA Triathlon has decided to reschedule the 2020 USA Triathlon Clydesdale & Athena National Championships that were scheduled for June 28 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The event will now take place as part of Team Magic’s 35th Annual Buster Britton Memorial Triathlon on August 15, at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, Alabama. Athletes currently registered for the 2020 Clydesdale & Athena National Championships have a variety of deferral options, including transferring their registration to the rescheduled 2020 event in Pelham, the 2021 Clydesdale & Athena National Championships in Chattanooga, or any future Team Magic event in 2020 or 2021. USA Triathlon also announced that the 2021 Clydesdale & Athena National Championships have been awarded to the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon. The event is scheduled for June 27.
• This year’s Triple Crown of horse racing will be unlike any other in its history, with the 152nd annual Belmont Stakes — traditionally the final leg of the three biggest races in the world — instead going first this year on June 20 at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. It will be the first time in the history of the Triple Crown that the Belmont will be the first leg. The Belmont Stakes, which will be held without fans, will also be shortened to a mile and an eighth instead of its traditional mile and a half distance, the longest of any Triple Crown race. The Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Maryland will take place on October 3, announced The Stronach Group Chairman and President Belinda Stronach and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan over the weekend. The Preakness will now be held four weeks after the 146th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, which was postponed from May 2 to September 5. The Kentucky Oaks will move from its previous date on May 1 to September 4 and the two-week Kentucky Derby Festival will also shift in conjunction with the new race dates.
• The U.S. Track and Field and the local organizing committee in Greensboro, North Carolina, have announced the cancellation of the 2020 Masters National Championships, which were scheduled to be held July 9–12 at North Carolina A&T State University’s Ike Belk Track at BB&T Stadium.
• Ironman and its host city partners have announced that the 2020 editions of the World Championship in Hawaii and the 70.3 World Championship in Taupo, New Zealand, will be postponed. The championship event in Kailua, Kona, was scheduled to take place in October but will now be staged February 6, 2021. A new date for the New Zealand race, which was set for November, has not been determined, although efforts are being made to stage the race in 2021.
• USA Wrestling has formed four special committees to help its members and athletes deal with specific issues in the sport caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. That national governing body’s committees will include experienced professionals in a range of industries who will volunteer their time. “USA Wrestling is tremendously grateful and blessed that these talented leaders are willing to step up for wrestling at this time,” said USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender. “All have a passion for the sport and a commitment to help guide our organization in its decision-making process. With this assistance, our sport will have the best possible direction to help us get through the current situation and emerge successfully, with a clear vision for the future.”
• USA Gymnastics has announced it will not hold its premier events in 2020 and will reformat the 2020 National Congress and trade show to a virtual event. The affected events including the GK U.S. Classic, U.S. Gymnastics Championships for women’s and men’s artistic, and the USA Gymnastics Championships for rhythmic, trampoline & tumbling, and acrobatics. The national governing body will announce new dates soon for the rescheduled 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials and the 2021 National Congress and trade show. The GK U.S. Classic scheduled for May 23 at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut, will take place at the same venue on May 22, 2021 and the U.S. Gymnastics Championships scheduled for June 4-7 at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, will take place in the original venue on June 3-6, 2021.
• The Diamond League, track and field’s most high-profile circuit during non-Olympic years, has released a revised schedule starting August 14 in Monaco and having 11 events, many of them one-day exhibitions rather than full showcases. There will not be a final championship meet and this year’s scheduled host, Zurich, will host in 2021 and 2022 instead. One of the events on the 2020 schedule is Eugene, Oregon on October 4 at the renovated Hayward Field at the University of Oregon. The track will host a series of showcase events over the next few years including the rescheduled 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials in June 2021 and the World Athletics Championships in July 2022. Eugene was scheduled to host the 2022 Diamond League championship but as part of the rearranged schedule, it will host the championship in 2023 instead.
• The World Baseball Classic, scheduled for 2021 at sites throughout the world including Los Angeles, San Diego and Miami, will be postponed until 2023 according to multiple reports. The tournament was scheduled to start in late February and conclude in March at Marlins Park in Florida. The qualifying rounds, scheduled for spring 2020 in Arizona, have already been postponed.
• USA Taekwondo has canceled its 2020 National Championship, which had been scheduled for San Antonio, Texas. The event at the Alamodome, which was scheduled for July 1–7, would have marked the first time in five years the tournament was held in Texas. It was expected to attract more than 4,000 athletes. In the hopes of still crowning national championships, the national governing body announced plans for “The USA Taekwondo 2020 National Championship Series,” which will consist of three qualifying events nationwide with a chance to compete in a to-be-determined national championships final. The NGB said it would work with cities and venues to host the events in September and October, with a championship final tentatively planned for November.
• DreamHack, one of the biggest gaming and digital festivals held throughout each year with pro, amateur and varsity esports tournaments, has canceled events in Sweden and Montreal and postponed DreamHack Valencia in Spain until October 8–12. The events in Sweden and Montreal will take place in 2021 instead while its five other festivals scheduled for the fall and winter, including November 13–15 in Atlanta, are still on the schedule.
• Epic Games has canceled the 2020 Fortnite World Cup, announcing that its remaining events for 2020 will be hosted online while another of the biggest gaming events in the world, EVO 2020, has been switched to online-only instead of being in Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas starting July 31.
• World Long Drive, which organizes driving for distance competitions, has announced it will cancel its regular season and Q-series, although a championship event in Chicago on September 3–9 will remain. Executive Director Matt Farrell said the decision was made with athlete safety in mind, as well as the safety of families, staff, fans, vendors, suppliers, venues and partners.
• The Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, the world’s largest 10K with 60,000 participants, is moving to Thanksgiving from its traditional Fourth of July date because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Atlanta Track Club says the November 26 date will minimize the impact on retailers in downtown Atlanta because most businesses will be closed for the holiday.
• ESPN has canceled X Games Minneapolis citing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. The event had been scheduled for July 17–19 and would have marked the fourth consecutive year the event was staged in Minneapolis, including U.S. Bank Stadium. The X Games moved its signature summer event to Minneapolis in 2017 and has seen attendance regularly top 100,000 over the course of the event. The 2020 event marked the end of a two-year extension that ESPN had signed with Sports Minneapolis and U.S. Bank Stadium in 2018.
• The USA Masters Games, a multisport competition, has announced it will move its 2020 event in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to 2021. The event had been scheduled for June 19–21 and June 26–28, 2020. The new dates in 2021 will be June 24–27. The event will continue to be called the 2020 Masters Games. While the Masters Games will be postponed, plans are still continuing for the 2020 State Games of Michigan. Details of that event are being discussed, including a potential shift in schedule and event locations, said Eric Engelbarts, who serves as the executive director of both the State Games of Michigan and the Local Organizing Committee for the 2020 USA Masters Games.
• The World Games, an international multisport competition expected to attract more than 3,600 athletes from 100 countries to Birmingham, Alabama, has been rescheduled from 2021 to 2022—a consequence of the rescheduling of the Olympic Summer Games. The new dates will be July 7–17, 2022.
• The world’s most famous cycling race, the Tour de France, has been postponed after French President Emmanuel Macron announced all public events with large crowds have been canceled until at least mid-July. A new start date has been set for August 29, with the event scheduled to run through September 20. The Tour de France was last canceled in 1946 after the end of World War II. The Tour of Utah, the only multi-day men’s cycling stage race in North America on the UCI Pro Series, has been canceled. This year’s event was to run from August 3–9.