No March Madness. A delayed Opening Day. On Thursday the coronavirus pandemic altered the landscape of nearly the entire sports world.
The NCAA announced it will not hold the 2020 men's and women's basketball tournaments, arguably the most lucrative sporting event in America outside the Super Bowl, out of concern for the COVID-19 outbreak.
That means the San Diego State Aztecs, owners of the best winning percentage in the nation and one of the presumptive favorites to reach their first Final Four, will not have the chance to do so. Beyond that, the NCAA decided to cancel all Spring championships.
There will be no baseball, softball, lacrosse, men's volleyball, golf, rowing, tennis, outdoor track and field or women's water polo national championships this year. Furthermore, San Diego State and the University of San Diego have both decided to cancel all Spring sporting events.
Division-2 schools have been impacted, as well. The NCAA Basketball Tournament West Regional that was scheduled to be held at U.C. San Diego starting on Friday is not happening. The Tritons, at 29-1, were expected to contend for a national title and all eight teams scheduled to play ... including Point Loma ... are already in town practicing at RIMAC Arena.
"This really is unprecedented," said Tritons Associate Athletics Director Jeff Tourial. "It's not something we've ever seen in intercollegiate athletics before, and arguably even in society. As a nation, as a world, as a global society we're facing something we've never seen before and in the sports world we're just one tiny component of that so we make the adjustments we need to make."
A multitude of professional sporting entities also altered their seasons. Major League Baseball will hold no more Spring Training games after Thursday and push the start of the 2020 regular season back at least two weeks.
That means the San Diego Padres cannot start their season until April 9 at the earliest. MLB, as of now, has not decided if it will simply push the season back or play a shorter schedule. If the season does slide it means they would finish in mid-October and post-season games would be played in November. If teams like the Yankees and Twins (both in the playoffs a year ago) are still playing then weather will certainly be a major factor to consider.
The San Diego Seals are officially on hiatus. The National Lacrosse League announced it is "temporarily" suspending play.
The Seals are suspending all team activities, including practices and public appearances. They will not make the trip to Vancouver for what was supposed to be a Friday night game and their next home game, on Friday the 20th against New England, is in jeopardy.
San Diego Loyal S.C. had already postponed its home match scheduled for March 14 until July 29 but now the United Soccer League has suspended play for a month.
The San Diego Sockers season is now effectively over. The Major Arena Soccer League announced it is ending its regular season immediately. There will be no playoffs and the league will likely not return until the start of the 2020-21 season.
The National Hockey League has voted to put games on hold starting Thursday night, as did the American Hockey League, the NHL's top development circuit.
The San Diego Gulls, one of the leaders in AHL attendance with nearly 9,000 fans a game and one of the hottest teams in the league, issued the following statement about the season being halted:
"These unprecedented steps are being taken for the betterment and well-being of the San Diego community we are proud to be part of. The health and safety of everyone associated with our games, including fans, staff, players and working personnel, continues to be our number one priority."
Major League Rugby also decided to suspend the season for 30 days amid the coronavirus pandemic. That means the San Diego Legion, in first place and off to a 5-0 start, will have to wait and see if they get a chance to win their first MLR championship.
The San Diego Strike Force of the Indoor Football League had planned on paying its home opener on Saturday night at 6:00 p.m. at Pechanga Arena with no fans allowed to attend but has since decided to postpone that game and put the season on hold until further notice.
The LPGA's Kia Classic, one of the biggest golf tournaments of the year, was scheduled for March 19-22 at Aviara Golf Club in Calrsbad. It's going to be postponed but the LPGA Tour hopes to reschedule it for later in 2020.
Fans holding tickets for any of these events are encouraged to contact the clubs and ask about what to do next.
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