How do professional sports leagues plan on finishing the current season?

May 9, 2020, 7:26 p.m. | By Billy Scott | 3 years, 11 months ago

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, sports leagues have been halted and the future is unknown

The coronavirus pandemic has been a time of extreme uncertainty. The world of sports has been completely stopped. Every major sports league has been suspended. According to ESPN, the XFL doesn't have plans set for their second season in 2021 and they have since gone into bankruptcy.

It all started on March 11 at 9:27 P.M., when Utah Jazz all-star center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 before a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, which suspended that game and kept the two teams quarantined in Chesapeake Energy Arena. Four minutes later, the NBA suspended their season. 

Gobert notoriously made a joke out of the coronavirus at first. Publicly, after a press conference, he jokingly touched all of the microphones at the podium. There were also reports that Gobert would touch players and their belongings, and on March 12, Jazz teammate Donovan Mitchell tested positive.

According to HoopsRumors, the NBA has considered resuming their season at Walt Disney World or in Las Vegas. The hotel at Walt Disney World will have plenty of room to hold all 30 NBA teams, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex can hold several courts (which can be broadcast-ready), and professional sports have been considered essential in Florida. For the time being, the NBA plans to open certain team facilities, starting May 8, limited to four players at a time and no coaches.

The NBA has also discussed pushing back the 2020-21 season. "The league wanted to have the Finals wrapped up ideally by Labor Day Weekend. They are more willing than ever to delay the start of next season, part of that reason is that it might give them more time next year to be able to have fans in the building," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said to Scott Van Pelt. On May 4, The Athletic NBA tweeted that the 2020-21 NBA season may begin on Christmas Day.

Opening Day for the MLB was meant to be on March 26, but of course, it too was canceled. The popular plan for their season to start is known as the "Arizona plan." According to CBS Sports, all 30 teams would be quarantined in Phoenix, and games would be played in the ten spring training stadiums as well as Chase Field, the Diamondbacks' stadium. Players would likely take a pay cut and have weekly COVID-19 tests.

As of right now, the NFL doesn't have plans to change the season which plans to open on Sept. 10 and end on Feb. 7, 2021. According to CBS Sports, there have been discussions of having a season start in mid-October with no bye weeks. There may also be games all played in one location, like the MLB.

The NHL has a pretty aggressive plan to return to practice May 15, with training camps in June, the regular season resuming in July, and the Stanley Cup in September, according to the Boston Globe, but no official decisions have been made.

The start of the WNBA season has been delayed, and their draft was held remotely. They had a designated break for the Olympics, so that may provide them some leeway for scheduling some games without fans during that time since the Olympics will be postponed until July 2021, but there have been no rumors or official decisions.

The near future of professional sports is widely unknown. Whether sports leagues will prioritize finishing the season, or waiting to have spectators will be a debate. Ultimately, the leagues have recognized that the safety of their members and fans is of the utmost importance during this time.

Last updated: May 9, 2020, 7:26 p.m.

Tags: NBA NHL MLB NFL College sports coronavirus

Billy Scott. What's up! My name is Billy Scott (he/him), and I am a sports editor for SCO! I am a member of the Dual Enrollment Program, meaning I am in the graduating class of 2021 at both Montgomery College and at Blair. I love rap, my … More »

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