It’s been several months since sports in the United States came to a screeching halt amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the NBA, MLB and NHL seasons suddenly were put on hiatus.
Recent UFC bouts, WWE matches, NASCAR races and golf tournaments offered a glimmer of hope, and now the timelines of major sports are finally still being finalized. The NBA, NHL and MLB have announced plans to return to play, but with news breaking so often, we’ve gathered the latest stories fans need to know.
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Here is what has happened over the last couple of weeks in the NBA:
- Despite being on the fence, Pacers star Victor Oladipo is playing in the NBA’s resumption. Read more here.
- Assuming the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season goes on without a hitch, the Association could be looking at a big financial windfall from advertisers. Advertisers that previously bought the NBA are quickly returning, and we are also seeing new advertisers come into the NBA, including 25 new advertisers in the post-season to date,” Disney Advertising Sales said in a statement. Read more here.
- ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears reported that a Kings player who went through a two-day quarantine was a victim of a “false positive” result. Read more here.
- Rudy Gobert received plenty of criticism for his behavior leading up the coronavirus pandemic but the Jazz center says that the media’s portrayal of him was unfair, as he feels he was made to be the scapegoat for the entire league shutting down. Read more here.
- Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer confirmed that Eric Bledsoe and Pat Connaughton will remain sidelined for now, per Eric Woodyard of ESPN. Both Bledsoe and Connaughton tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the summer, delaying their arrivals to the NBA’s Walt Disney World campus. They’ve each cleared quarantine and have returned to practice, but Budenholzer believes the two veterans need a little more time to get their conditioning and rhythm up to par. Read more here.
- Under the NBA resumption protocols, Memphis must hold a lead of at least four-and-a-half games over the club/clubs in ninth to avoid a play-in game or games for the conference’s final postseason berth. Memphis star guard and uncrowned NBA Rookie of the Year Ja Morant criticized the process during an appearance on ESPN’s “The Jump” that aired Thursday. Read more here.
- The NBA resumed its season Thursday night, with the Jazz beating the Pelicans and the Lakers squeaking out a victory over the Clippers. Read more here.
- The latest round of testing at the Walt Disney World campus resulted in no new cases of COVID-19, the league and its players association tweeted in a joint statement. No positive results were recorded among the 344 players who have been tested since July 20. Read more here.
- NBA teams ‘very much expect’ to start next year without fans, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Read more here.
- Furthermore, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts told ESPN that embracing a “bubble” format may be the only way the Association can complete the 2020-21 season. “All I know is what I know now. So it may be that, if the bubble is the way to play, then that is likely gonna be the way we play next season, if things remain as they are,” Roberts said, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. Read more here.
- Pels star Zion Williamson has cleared his quarantine period and will be permitted to practice with the Pelicans, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. That will give him two chances to get back up to speed in practice before Thursday’s game against the Utah Jazz. Read more here.
- Clippers guard Patrick Beverley has returned to Walt Disney World after exiting for a family emergency, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Read more here.
- Suns center Aron Baynes has cleared the NBA’s medical protocols after contracting COVID-19 and has been given the go-ahead to travel, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports that Baynes is set to arrive at the Walt Disney World campus Monday. Read more here. Read more here.
- Kristaps Porzingis was in quarantine for a day after missing a coronavirus test in the NBA bubble, which he calls a “mistake.” The Mavs big man missed his test on Saturday and could not scrimmage with his team on Sunday as a result. Read more here.
- Following Lou Williams’ visit to a strip club during his excused absence, the NBA announced he will have to undergo a 10-day quarantine, which means he will miss the Clippers’ first two games of the resumption. Read more here.
- Bam Adebayo and Kendrick Nunn returned to practice on Friday after both tested positive for the coronavirus and recently finished quarantine, per ESPN’s Nick Friedell. Read more here.
- The league is close to finalizing plans for the eight teams not in Orlando to hold practices and group workouts, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports. Under the proposal, those teams would be allowed a week of practice at their home facilities, beginning the second week of August. They might also conduct two weeks of group workouts and scrimmages at two of those sites. Read more here.
- Rockets guard Austin Rivers is back on the Walt Disney World campus, two days after leaving for an urgent family matter. Rivers posted the new on his Instagram account. Read more here.
- Rockets guard Austin Rivers has left the bubble complex due to an urgent family matter, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Rivers hopes to report back to Orlando sometime this weekend, Charania added. Read more here.
- Pacers All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis has left the bubble with a “significant left foot injury” and is seeking treatment from a specialist, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Read more here.
- Russell Westbrook has cleared the NBA’s quarantine protocol after testing positive for the coronavirus, and the superstar is now allowed to join the Houston Rockets at the Walt Disney World Resort’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Read more here.
- Suns star Aron Baynes revealed to Shams Charania of Stadium that he and his immediate family members tested positive for COVID-19. He said his family had “minimal symptoms,” but it “put [him] on [his] butt for a good week.” He also said he continues to test positive despite feeling better. Read more here.
- San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has and will continue to don a mask in the Orlando, Fla., bubble so long as the team competes in the NBA restart at the Walt Disney World Resort’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Being 71 years old puts Popovich at a high risk for severe, potentially even fatal complications should he contract COVID-19. Read more here.
- The NBA has moved up its 2020 draft lottery by five days, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports that the event, previously tentatively scheduled for Aug. 25, will now take place on Thursday, Aug. 20. Read more here.
- The NBA has confirmed a weekend report, announcing Tuesday in a press release that its 2020 awards will be based on games played through March 11, without this summer’s “seeding games” being taken into account. To ensure that the media members who vote on the awards aren’t influenced at all by the upcoming seeding games, voting will take place from July 21-28, according to the league. Read more here.
- Bucks wing Pat Connaughton revealed that he recently tested positive for the coronavirus and has not yet reported to the NBA’s campus in Orlando. Read more here.
- Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams wants fans to know he’s handling life in Florida just fine. “Let’s be clear: This is not Syria. It’s not that hard … We’re living at a bloody resort. Everyone is going to complain, everyone has their own preferences, nothing too serious. Just a bit of dry food here and there,” he said. Read more here.
- One week after Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook confirmed via social media that he tested positive for the coronavirus before his scheduled journey to the bubble site of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida, Houston coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters the one-time MVP has traveled to Orlando. Read more here.
- NBA players have been living inside their bubble campus in Orlando for two weeks now, and the arrangement appears to be limiting the spread of the coronavirus. The NBA announced that zero players out of 346 have tested positive for COVID-19 since the last time test results were shared on July 13. Read more here.
- Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni is providing an update on Russell Westbrook since the star testing positive for COVID-19. Per Mark Berman of Fox 26, D’Antoni said Brodie is “in pretty good shape and has been ramping up.” Read more here.
- On Friday, the Magic announced significant layoffs. Former Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy responded to that news with some pointed criticism on Twitter Saturday, saying that the team’s owners, the DeVos family, are billionaires and could easily pay those salaries. Read more here.
- Games will be shorter as NBA teams open the exhibition schedule in a few days, writes Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press. Each team’s first game will have 10-minute quarters, giving players a chance to ease back into competition after a four-month break. Read more here.
- ESPN’s Malika Andrews obtained a copy of a memo the NBA sent to players on Thursday, and it included reminders of several “campus rules.” One of them was to dress appropriately when having room service delivered. Read more here.
- The NBA has expanded the number of people it is allowing on the Walt Disney World campus, and more changes could be coming in the future, according to Sam Amick and Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. A memo was sent out this week saying that team governors will be allowed to attend seeding games, and the eight teams not invited to Orlando can send scouts when the season resumes in 13 days. Read more here.
- James Edwards III of The Athletic reported that “there are whispers in NBA circles that next year’s cap is going to drop to about $109 million.” Read more here.
- Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell left the bubble because of a family emergency, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania. As Bleacher Report’s Blake Schuster wrote, the 26-year-old will be asked to quarantine for at least four days upon his return. Read more here.
- Dwight Howard revealed that someone called the NBA hotline and told on him, letting the league know that the Lakers center had not been wearing his mask when he was supposed to. Read more here.
- The NBA has set up a hotline that is meant to allow players and personnel to anonymously report anyone who is not following proper social-distancing protocol. Memphis Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant says he has no interest in turning anyone in. Read more here.
- Michael Beasley signed with Brooklyn a week ago but tested positive for COVID-19 upon arriving to the Walt Disney World campus and didn’t clear quarantine. As a result, the Nets have decided to sign a substitute player to replace him. Read more here.
- Bucks star Eric Bledsoe told Chris Haynes of Yahoo that he tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently asymptomatic. Bledsoe has not been in Orlando at all since the Bucks arrived at the bubble, but he told Haynes that he expects to rejoin his teammates once he has cleared all protocols. Read more here.
- There has been some concern that the daily coronavirus testing taking place in the NBA’s Walt Disney World — as well as the quick turnaround on those test results — has placed some strain on BioReference Laboratories’ testing capacities for the general public. However, Dr. Jon R. Cohen of BioReference insists to Joe Vardon of The Athletic that that’s not the case. “Our current capacity is somewhere in the vicinity of 50,000 to 70,000 tests a day,” Cohen said. “So the amount of testing we’re doing for the sports franchises is minimal compared to our total number of testing.” Read more here.
- Joe Vardon of The Athletic reports that the NBA has recruited renowned executive chef Shawn Loving to the Walt Disney World Resort campus to make adjustments to the meals provided to players, coaches and team staffs. Loving comes with solid credentials in the NBA world, having served as chef for both Team USA basketball and the Detroit Pistons. Read more here.
- Thunder Dennis Schroder explained that he will return home in “three to four weeks” for the birth of the couple’s second child. Excused absences, such as childbirth, are permitted as long as the player quarantines for four days upon his return to Orlando and tests negative for the coronavirus for each day he stays off the campus. Read more here.
- Magic forward James Ennis explained that he tested positive for the coronavirus weeks before he joined teammates in the bubble. Ennis added that he experienced multiple symptoms, including headaches and vomiting. While he said he’s feeling better, he admitted he’s still working to get back to full fitness and playing shape. Read more here.
- Playing games in empty arenas will be weird. To enhance the experience, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said Wednesday that there will be virtual fans, digital boards and “home team sounds” during Orlando bubble games. Read more here.
- Kings forward Harrison Barnes confirmed he tested positive for the coronavirus before the team’s flight to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida to complete the 2019-20 NBA season. Barnes tweeted he is “primarily asymptomatic” and quarantining as he waits to be cleared to join teammates in Florida. Read more here.
- Spurs assistant Tim Duncan is staying out of the Orlando bubble. Instead, he is helping oversee LaMarcus Aldridge’s rehab efforts. Read more here.
- Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Tuesday that there have been multiple tips placed to the anonymous hotline to inform the NBA of potential violations. Those tips have resulted in players receiving warnings. Read more here.
- The Brooklyn Nets’ roster appears to have suffered another blow after Michael Beasley tested positive for the coronavirus. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Beasley has been sent home by the Nets, and it is unknown if he will be able to play for Brooklyn in Orlando. Read more here.
- After a delay involving a positive coronavirus test and various travel complications, center Nikola Jokic has reported to the Nuggets at the Walt Disney World campus and has cleared quarantine, the team announced. Although Jokic has gone through his two-day quarantine period, he hasn’t yet been cleared to participate in practice, according to Chris Dempsey of Altitude Sports, who tweets that the big man is still waiting on results from “physical-type testing.” Read more here.
- Rockets guard Russell Westbrook announced that he tested positive for the coronavirus prior to departing for the NBA’s campus in Florida. “I’m currently feeling well, quarantined, and looking forward to rejoining my teammates when I am cleared,” Westbrook wrote in his statement. Read more here.
- Westbrook’s teammate, Rockets forward Bruno Caboclo, inadvertently broke quarantine at the NBA’s Walt Disney World campus and will be required to re-quarantine for another eight days before he resumes team activities, according to Tim MacMahon, Zach Lowe, Malika Andrews and Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Read more here.
- A league spokesperson confirmed to ESPN’s Nick DePaula on Monday that players will now be allowed to wear their own clothing while walking from the team bus to locker rooms. That is a shift from the previously announced policy, which instructed players to change in their hotel rooms and arrive already in uniform. Read more here.
- In addition to waiting on star center Nikola Jokic to arrive at the Walt Disney World campus from Serbia, the Nuggets are also currently missing a few other players, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. League sources tell Haynes that Gary Harris, Michael Porter Jr. and Torrey Craig haven’t made the trip to Disney. Read more here.
- Kings center Richaun Holmes announced on Twitter that he “briefly and accidentally crossed the NBA campus line” in order to pick up a food delivery following the initial quarantine period. As a result, Holmes is subject to a new 10-day quarantine period — he indicated in his statement that he has eight days left. Read more here.
- Two out of 322 NBA players tested for the coronavirus at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida returned positive results. “Those players never cleared quarantine and have since left the campus to isolate at home or in isolation housing,” the NBA announced. Read more here.
- Some NBA players have readily criticized the league’s “bubble,” but Malcolm Brogdon has expressed support for it, tweeting: “The bubble has been good to me! I know there are so many people risking their health to pull this off and your hard work has not gone unnoticed!” Read more here.
- According to USA Today, NBA players will have the opportunity to exclusively explore the Disney World theme parks after hours. Only select attractions will be available, though it looks like players will be able to ride some of Disneys top coasters including Expedition Everest, Rock “N” Rollercoaster and Test Track. Read more here.
- New Laker JR Smith says he was told to stop airing complaints about the hotel situation at the NBA bubble in Orlando. He had previously gone on Instagram Live to complain about various issues, such as a small blanket. Read more here.
- Lou Williams said last month that he was contemplating sitting out the resumed NBA season in Orlando to focus on social issues, but it would appear the Los Angeles Clippers star is joining his teammates after all, as he appears to have traveled with the team to Florida. Read more here.
- Wizards center Thomas Bryant and bench point guard Gary Payton II have tested positive for COVID-19 and did not travel with their team to Orlando. Their availability for the season’s resumption is up in the air. Read more here.
- Marcus Smart, who tested positive for COVID-19 in March, believes veterans bear some responsibility in pointing young players in the right direction. “I think the younger guys are going to have some skepticism but I think as veteran guys and other guys on the team, we’ll have to do our part to keep those guys, I guess, in a sense, under control and just understanding that although you might not take it as serious, you’re putting other people at risk and they take it seriously, so you have to respect them.” Read more here.
- Pelicans All-Star Brandon Ingram admits that he is not feeling great about the season actually being completed. “New cases are coming up. Different things are happening. I’m not very confident. But they’ve got us going to Orlando on [Wednesday], so we’ll see,” Ingram said. Read more here.
- Bradley Beal announced that he will not play for the Washington Wizards in Orlando for the resumption of the NBA season due to an injury to his right rotator cuff. Beal will still go to Orlando with the team, but his injury will keep him from actually playing in the games. Read more here.
- Nets team doctors have decided to have Spencer Dinwiddie sit out of the NBA’s restart, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic. The decision is being made out of an “abundance of caution,” Charania adds, as Dinwiddie recently tested positive for the coronavirus. The Brooklyn guard has confirmed the news in a tweet. Read more here.
- It seems that Embiid also called out teammates whom he believes might put the All-Star center in harm’s way. Embiid also talked about how basketball isn’t everything and that health is important. Read more here.
- Another Nets player is sitting out Orlando. Forward Taurean Prince is also out after testing positive for the coronavirus, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Read more here.
- The NBA is preparing for the intangible aspects of having players stuck in a bubble for an extended period of time. As such, Brett Martel of the Associated Press reports the league plans to emphasize mental health for players, who will be kept away from their families as they head to Walt Disney World. Read more here.
- Landry Shamet has tested positive for COVID-19, per Shams Charania of The Athletic. As a result, he is unlikely to travel to Orlando this week to join his teammates for workouts. Read more here.
- Another Heat player has tested positive for the coronavirus, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. At least one Heat staff member also had a positive test, a source tells Jackson. Read more here.
- Gordon Hayward indicated it would it would be a “pretty easy decision” for him to leave Orlando if his wife Robyn were to go into labor in September, which would occur during the postseason as currently scheduled. The Haywards’ plan is to have the baby in Indianapolis, where there’s family to help Robyn with the newborn, especially if the Celtics star elects to return to Orlando to compete with the team in the later rounds of the postseason, if Boston makes it that far. Read more here.
- As Bobby Marks of ESPN explains, no teams are currently permitted to make trades, including the bottom eight teams that aren’t participating in the summer resumption in Orlando, Fla. Even though the offseason has begun for those eight non-Orlando clubs (the Warriors, Timberwolves, Cavaliers, Pistons, Hawks, Knicks, Hornets and Bulls), a transaction moratorium remains in place for them following last week’s brief transaction window. The likely outcome is that the league and the players’ union will agree to lift the moratorium once the first round of the playoffs gets underway on Aug. 17. At that point, non-playoff teams — including the six teams in Orlando that don’t make the postseason — would be allowed to make trades, waive players and sign certain players to contract extensions. Read more here.
- The eight teams not invited to Orlando still might have an opportunity to play again this season. ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan reports (via Woj) that the NBA is finalizing plans for a second bubble in Chicago that would be for the “Delete Eight” teams. Those clubs would be able too hold mini-training camps and games. Read more here.
- Rockets guard Austin Rivers told Turner Sports’ Taylor Rooks that he believes this year’s NBA championship should come with an asterisk, calling it “one of the toughest championships ever won.” Read more here.
- Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo echoed Rivers’ thoughts, saying, per Sports Insiders’ Scott Davis: “This will be the toughest championship you can ever win. The circumstances are really tough right now.” Read more here.
- Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard told reporters (via ESPN’s Royce Young) that he believes some of his fellow players could try to bend the league’s bubble rules. “My confidence ain’t great because you’re telling me you’re gonna have 22 teams full of players following all the rules? When we have 100 percent freedom, everybody don’t follow all the rules,” Dame said. Read more here.
- Alex Len is the third Kings player to test positive for COVID-19. In a statement, Len said he underwent testing in Sacramento and immediately isolated. Read more here.
- Mavericks center Willie Cauley-Stein has decided to sit out of the NBA’s resumption as a preventative measure. He and his partner are expecting a baby in July, and he doesn’t want to put them at risk for the coronavirus. The Mavs will sign guard Trey Burke to take his place. Read more here.
- The NBA plans to use law enforcement to ensure player and staff safety. ESPN’s Tim Bontemps reported that “local, state and federal law enforcement, plus former special operations forces” will be employed to secure the bubble site and keep NBA personnel safe from any intruders. Read more here.
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Here is the latest MLB news from the past couple of weeks:
- The Marlins got some relatively decent news on Saturday morning. According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, no new Marlins have tested positive for the coronavirus from Friday’s tests. Read more here.
- Marlins infielder Isan Diaz has opted out of the 2020 season amid the organization’s coronavirus outbreak. Read more here.
- MLB’s investigation into the Marlins’ coronavirus outbreak found that the team didn’t follow health and safety protocols while in Atlanta during a preseason road trip, according to Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller. Read more here.
- One day after a couple of positive coronavirus tests, at least four additional members of the St. Louis Cardinals organization have tested positive for COVID-19, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Read more here.
- Furthermore, according to former Los Angeles Dodgers player and broadcaster Jerry Hairston Jr., a few St. Louis Cardinals players reportedly went to a casino, which is likely how they became infected with the coronavirus. Read more here.
- As a result of the Cardinals’ outbreak, they game against the Brewers got postponed. Read more here.
- As a result of the coronavirus spreading through multiple clubhouses, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain has decided to opt out of the 2020 season, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Read more here.
- Trevor Bauer is voicing his frustration amid the constant schedule changes being implemented by MLB, telling the league to “figure it the f— out.” Read more here.
- Commissioner Rob Manfred just made a very questionable statement regarding the remainder of the 2020 season. Manfred doesn’t see a reason to cancel the remainder of the baseball season despite a rising number of coronavirus cases across the league. Read more here.
- MLB is trying to keep the 2020 season alive amid the growing outbreak of COVID-19 within the league. We’re now seeing the league postpone multiple series and alter the schedule. See the changes here.
- Friday night’s game between Milwaukee and St. Louis was postponed due to a player testing positive for the coronavirus. Heyman adds that the Cardinals are the team with the positive test. Read more here.
- MLB player safety protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic need some adjustments, and Cubs star Anthony Rizzo is encouraging the league to take notice, blasting the league on Twitter for it. Read more here.
- According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, the Marlins are getting a bus to bring coronavirus-infected players and staff back to Florida. The rest reportedly will remain in Philadelphia and then travel to Baltimore, New York and Buffalo to continue their season. Read more here.
- Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman is cleared to return to the club after testing positive for the coronavirus earlier this month. Read more here.
- MLB and the MLB Players Association announced that the parties agreed to shift both games of doubleheaders to seven-inning outings effective Saturday (Aug. 1) for the 2020 campaign. Read more here.
- Both the Marlins and Phillies, who hosted the Marlins last weekend, have been idle since Sunday, and the two clubs were scheduled to begin a series next Tuesday (Aug. 4). However, MLB insider Jon Heyman is reporting those games are off, and that the Phillies will instead head to the Bronx to begin home-and-home outings versus the New York Yankees. Read more here.
- Baltimore Orioles pitcher Kohl Stewart made the tough decision to opt out of the 2020 MLB season due to underlying health concerns. Read more here.
- Commissioner Rob Manfred told MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark on Friday that the league could shut the season down if teams, players and other personnel don’t improve their handling of the coronavirus, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Read more here.
- According to Scott Miller of Bleacher Report, MLB’s internal investigation found that Marlins players failed to strictly adhere to safety protocols during their road trip to Atlanta just prior to the start of the season. ESPN’s Marly Rivera added that there is “a lot of anger” among fellow players directed toward the Marlins. Read more here.
- In light of the Marlins’ outbreak, some players might be taking steps to police their teammates’ behavior to prevent similar situations. Per ESPN’s T.J. Quinn, one “prominent” player told teammates that he would get them traded if they weren’t mindful of the league’s safety protocols. Read more here.
- ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that MLB has informed all teams they must have a coronavirus compliance officer who will travel with the team and assure all proper measures are being taken. Those measures include mandating the use of surgical masks rather than cloth face coverings. Players have also been encouraged to not travel outside of their hotels on road trips except for games. Read more here.
- Another Marlins player has tested positive for COVID-19 infection, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. His identity is not known at this time. With this test, Rosenthal says, we’re now up to 17 players from the 30-man active roster and/or 3-man taxi squad that are carrying the virus. Read more here.
- The Philadelphia Phillies announced that they have canceled all baseball activities indefinitely after two members of the organization tested positive for the coronavirus. While no players have tested positive, the Phillies said there were two staffers — one coach and one clubhouse worker — who have contracted COVID-19. The team will not be holding any workouts at Citizens Bank Park “until further notice.” Read more here.
- As a result, TSN’s Scott Mitchell confirmed the weekend games between the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays are canceled due to coronavirus concerns, per Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo. Read more here.
- MLB is discussing scheduling doubleheaders that will have just seven innings, which would help preserve pitchers during the truncated season. Remember, each team only has six off days. Read more here.
- Juan Soto believes he had a false positive test result. He has been cleared to return and will make his season debut on Aug. 4. Read more here.
- Reds outfielder Nick Senzel has been cleared to return to the active roster, he announced on his Twitter account. Infielder Mike Moustakas was also given the green light to resume play. They had appealed a league determination of a lengthier period of absence after the duo had reported some symptoms potentially consistent with COVID-19 over the weekend. Read more here.
- Meanwhile, another member of the Marlins tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the number of known cases among the team to 18. Read more here.
- A member of the Philadelphia Phillies visiting clubhouse staff reportedly has tested positive for the coronavirus, a source told The Associated Press. Read more here.
- Nick Markakis is returning to the Braves after three weeks away, according to The Athletic’s David O’Brien and Ken Rosenthal. He originally opted out in early July after participating in June workouts with the team. Markakis becomes the first player to change his mind about opting out. Read more here.
- Lou Schwechheimer, owner of the Miami Marlins’ Triple-A affiliate Wichita Wind Surge, died on Wednesday from complications caused by COVID-19. Schwechheimer was 62 years old. Read more here.
- Despite several games being postponed, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred insists the season can be salvaged. However, Dr. Fauci expressed his concern about the outbreak, saying it may end up forcing the league to shut down the season. “This could put it in danger,” Fauci said on “Good Morning America.” “I don’t believe they need to stop, but we just need to follow this and see what happens with other teams on a day-by-day basis.” Read more here.
- Despite facing a team that played knowing it had been exposed to the coronavirus, the Phillies’ first round of testing came up negative. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers, no player or coach tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday. Read more here.
- Despite the league’s stated optimism that the Marlins’ situation is not severe enough to halt its abbreviated 60-game season, Phillies manager Joe Girardi nevertheless expressed concern Tuesday over the unquestionably troublesome situation. Read more here.
- Per MLB insiders Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman, MLB could have the Yankees and Orioles, currently in limbo through no fault of their personnel, play each other while the Marlins and Phillies temporarily quarantine. Read more here.
- SportsGrid’s Craig Mish reported that Miami’s 2020 season is temporarily on hold so the club and league “can continue to monitor health and safety of players” after over a dozen individuals associated with the franchise recently tested positive for the virus. Bob Nightengale of USA Today confirmed Mish’s tweet and added Miami may not play for at least another week. Read more here.
- Miami-Dade mayor Carlos A. Giménez chimed in, saying the Marlins should quarantine for 14 days when they return to Florida. Read more here.
- As coronavirus cases rise throughout the United States, some around the league are already questioning if a professional season is possible outside of a bubble format. ESPN’s Marly Rivera reported: “I’ve spoken to several MLB managers in both Leagues, and one thing they’re really concerned about has been team hotels being full of people. Two managers told me about weddings being celebrated at the team hotel, which were really crowded and no social distancing was practiced.” Read more here.
- On the same day that both the Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies were temporarily shut down following a coronavirus outbreak among members of the Marlins, MLB declared that no other club registered a positive coronavirus test result since Friday. Read more here.
- In what may be a sign of things to come for the rest of MLB, the Miami Marlins confirmed the club is temporarily moving to daily coronavirus testing following an outbreak that paused campaigns for the Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies. Read more here.
- Chicago manager Rick Renteria was welcomed back to team activities just one day after he experienced symptoms commonly linked with the coronavirus. The White Sox announced on Monday that Renteria underwent precautionary testing at a Cleveland hospital and was kept away from players and other personnel. Read more here.
- The Marlins may have jeopardized the entire MLB season with an avoidable act. Bob Nightengale of USA Today told 93.7 The Fan that Marlins players left their hotel to go have fun in Atlanta. Read more here.
- According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, 14 members of the Miami Marlins organization now have tested positive for the coronavirus. The Marlins were supposed to play the Baltimore Orioles in their home opener on Monday, but that has been canceled as the team is stuck in Philadelphia and still undergoing testing. Read more here.
- In addition, Monday night’s scheduled game between the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies has been postponed due to the developing COVID-19 situation with the Miami Marlins. Read more here.
- Following an outbreak of the coronavirus in the Marlins organization, Dodgers pitcher David Price decided to reveal part of the reason why he decided to not play in 2020. “Part of the reason I’m at home right now is because players [sic] health wasn’t being put first. I can see that hasn’t changed,” Price tweeted. Read more here.
- Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Josh Lindblom made it clear that the MLB has an obligation to ensure safety for players and other team personnel. Per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Lindblom said, “Somebody might have to make a hard decision.” Read more here.
- Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Tim Collins has opted out of the 2020 MLB season, becoming the first to do so after the Miami Marlins’ COVID-19 outbreak. Read more here.
- On the same day that a coronavirus outbreak among the Miami Marlins led to the cancellation of a pair of games, MLB owners reportedly elected to continue with the scheduled 60-game season. Scott Miller of Turner Sports tweeted the news and added that MLB officials will remind clubs of health and safety protocols for a campaign unlike any other. Read more here.
- The Chicago White Sox announced that manager Rick Renteria won’t attend Monday’s game versus the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field because he’s showing symptoms of the coronavirus. Read more here.
- The Marlins were in Atlanta to play the Braves prior to the regular season starting, and Bob Klapisch of the Newark Star-Ledger reports that it is believed that is where more than a dozen players and coaches may have contracted COVID-19. There has been speculation that the Marlins either caught the coronavirus in Philadelphia, where they played the Phillies over the weekend, or home in Florida, where there has been a significant increase in COVID-19 cases over the past several weeks. Read more here.
- Rob Manfred appeared on MLB Network and said that the Marlins could begin a scheduled two-game series in Baltimore on Wednesday if Miami’s latest coronavirus test results are deemed “acceptable.” Read more here.
- Additionally, Manfred has shared the circumstances under which he would decide to pause a team’s season. “A team losing a number of players that rendered it completely non-competitive,” would be the circumstance, Manfred said on Monday. Read more here.
- The Reds announced they have placed second baseman Mike Moustakas on the injured list. No reason was given for the placement, but Moustakas was scratched from the lineup Sunday morning after waking up “not feeling well,” in the words of manager David Bell, per the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale. Read more here.
- The Blue Jays know where they’ll ultimately be playing their home games in 2020, but they won’t make their debut in Buffalo until Aug. 11 against the Marlins. Read more here.
- The Reds announced they placed infielder Matt Davidson on the 10-day COVID-19 injured list after Davidson tested positive for the virus. Davidson was in the starting lineup for Friday’s 7-1 Cincinnati victory over Detroit, so in the wake of this positive test, surely there must be some concern within the Reds clubhouse about whether others could have been infected. Read more here.
- The Blue Jays will, in fact, play in Buffalo at Sahlen Field this season, home of their Triple-A affiliate. The team confirmed that the majority of its home games will take place in Buffalo. Read more here.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, who threw out the first pitch during the Washington Nationals’ Opening Day matchup against the New York Yankees, will have his own personalized Topps Trading Card, according to TMZ. The card will be available for a limited time and features the medical expert in a throwing motion. Read more here.
- Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez has been shut down indefinitely due to complications stemming from the coronavirus, and we now know a bit more about his condition. According to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, Rodriguez is dealing with a condition involving his heart. It is believed that Rodriguez has been diagnosed with “myocarditis,” which involves an inflammation of the heart muscle. It is often caused by a viral infection. Treatment for the condition includes medication and rest. Read more here.
- Thursday’s New York Yankees versus Washington Nationals season-opener drew 4 million viewers, per ESPN’s Ben Cafardo. That set a record for MLB Opening Night viewership and was up 232 percent from last year’s Opening Night broadcast. Read more here.
- Red Sox pitcher Collin McHugh says the decision to opt out is not at all what he planned for. “As the Red Sox reported, I have made the decision to opt out of the 2020 baseball season,” McHugh wrote. “It’s been a difficult choice for me and my family, and not at all what we had intended for this year.” McHugh was recovering from an elbow injury, and things were not progressing as he hoped. Read more here.
- Longtime Nationals corner infielder Ryan Zimmerman weighed retirement previously but ultimately elected to return for another season in 2020. He then reversed course in light of the coronavirus pandemic, opting out of the campaign, though he says he plans to return in 2021. Read more here.
- New York Mets hitting coach Chili Davis is working remotely due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic ahead of the club’s Friday Opening Day matchup with division rivals the Atlanta Braves. Per the Associated Press and Mike Puma of the New York Post, the 60-year-old instructor who has aided Mets hitters from his Arizona home hasn’t yet decided if he’ll meet up with club personnel because he has undisclosed underlying health conditions. Read more here.
- The MLBPA has accepted a request from the league to add clubs to the playoff format for just this year, bumping the number of postseason teams from 10 to 16. Read more here.
- Former Seattle Mariners star Harold Reynolds said he would not opt out of the season if he was still playing today. Read more here.
- Rays DH Jose Martinez has arrived in camp for the first time on Saturday. He confirmed that he had tested positive for coronavirus, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Read more here.
- Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman detailed his experience with COVID-19. Fox 5’s Justin Felder relayed his comments: “I said a little prayer that night because I’ve never been that hot before … I said ‘please don’t take me.’ It got a little worrisome that night.” Read more here.
- Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco has tested positive for the coronavirus, Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic was among those to report. Read more here.
- Yasiel Puig’s 2020 season is once again on hold after he tested positive for COVID-19. Puig announced the positive test on social media Friday. He said he is asymptomatic and will remain quarantined until he tests negative twice. Since he never officially signed with the Braves, Atlanta will not sign the former All-Star. Read more here.
- MLB’s pro scouts are itching to get back in the ballpark, but it sounds like they’ll have to wait. The 2020 campaign will begin without live scouts, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Read more here.
- White Sox 3B Yoan Moncada has rejoined the club after a stint on the injured list, MLB.com reports. Moncada had been on the IL since July 10. The reason for Moncada’s IL placement was not disclosed at the time, but he announced Thursday that he tested positive for COVID-19. Read more here.
- The Rays have placed outfielder Austin Meadows on the injured list as a result of a positive COVID-19 test, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Read more here.
- Pat Loeb of KYW News Radio reported that Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is banning large outdoor gatherings through the end of next February due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic. That order includes organizations such as the Phillies and Eagles. Read more here.
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Here is what the NHL has been doing over the past couple of weeks to prepare for he league’s resumption:
- The Bruins have been without Ondrej Kase for some time now, but the forward finally has joined the team in Toronto. Boston confirmed he returned from an absence that stemmed from him being deemed “unfit to practice” since training resumed in late July. Read more here.
- There have been zero positive tests for COVID-19 since teams entered the bubble cities in Edmonton and Toronto last weekend, per TSN’s Darren Dreger. Approximately 1,500 tests are being conducted on a daily basis. Read more here.
- The American Hockey League, the NHL’s primary developmental league, has announced a tentative start date for the 2020-21 campaign amid the coronavirus pandemic: Dec. 4. Read more here.
- Corey Crawford’s absence from the first 12 days of the Blackhawks’ training camp came as a surprise, and the team was only able to provide the “unfit to play” designation. Crawford himself revealed the reason, telling reporters that he tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, he had to spend the last couple of weeks in self-quarantine. Read more here.
- Canadiens defenseman Brett Kulak and Senators center Jayce Hawryluk confirmed that they tested positive for COVID-19. They are both healthy and with their respective teams now. Read more here.
- Neither NHL commissioner Gary Bettman nor deputy commissioner Bill Daly will be at the bubble sites in Edmonton and Toronto for the resumption of the 2019-20 season completed amid the coronavirus pandemic. Per ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski, Bettman explained that they won’t be in Canada on Aug. 1 because the current border closure requires that individuals entering the country from the United States must quarantine and self-isolate for 14 days. Read more here.
- Xavier Ouellet of the Montreal Canadiens confirmed to reporters that he tested positive, though his diagnosis came with plenty of confusion. Ouellet first tested negative when he arrived at training camp, before then testing positive and going into quarantine. He never experienced any symptoms and then subsequently tested negative multiple times to be allowed to rejoin the group. The defenseman isn’t even sure if he ever actually had the virus, though did confirm to Lu that a blood test confirmed antibodies. Winnipeg Jets defenseman Anthony Bitetto meanwhile tested positive on June 24, according to team reporter Mitchell Clinton. Read more here.
- Oilers GM Ken Holland told reporters that the team will take Philip Broberg into the Phase 4 bubble instead of returning him to his Swedish club. The initial plan was for Broberg, the team’s 2019 first-round pick, to only participate in Phase 3 before joining Skelleftea in the SHL for their own training camp. Read more here.
- The St. Louis Blues will have Ivan Barbashev in the lineup when they start their round-robin games in Edmonton, but they will lose him soon after. Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Barbashev will leave after one or two games for the birth of his child. Read more here.
- Montreal Canadiens center Max Domi will participate in the NHL restart held amid the coronavirus pandemic even though he is a high risk for COVID-19 because he has type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. Read more here.
- After an inconclusive COVID-19 test and being forced to sit out Saturday’s practice, Boston Bruins’ Charlie Coyle looks like he will be fine. The forward followed the inconclusive test with a negative test, according to The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa, who spoke with Coyle’s agent. Read more here.
- The Bruins have put David Pastrnak in quarantine after he was directly exposed to someone with COVID-19. Although, Pastrnak himself has tested negative for COVID-19, per The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa. Read more here.
- The Capitals will be in the round-robin seeding portion of the 24-team NHL resumption inside the Eastern Conference bubble site in Toronto on Aug. 8, the same day Washington forward Lars Eller and his wife expect to welcome their second child into the world. As ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski wrote, Eller told reporters on Tuesday that he’ll temporarily leave the bubble for the birth. Read more here.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins announced that nine players are currently sidelined after they were exposed to somebody who tested positive for COVID-19. The Penguins are scheduled to travel to the temporary hub site in Toronto on July 26. Read more here.
- The Florida Panthers will be without assistant coach Mike Kitchen for the return to play program, announcing that he has opted out. Read more here.
- Over the weekend, The Athletic’s Arpon Basu reported that at least three Canadiens players recently tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of Montreal’s start of training camp sessions on Monday. On Monday, however, Basu added that the Canadiens believe two of those tests produced “false positives.” It’s not known if the two individuals skated with teammates on Monday. Read more here.
- Blackhawks veteran goaltender Corey Crawford missed the opening day of training camp after he was ruled “unfit to play or to participate,” per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN). It’s not known if his unavailability is due to the coronavirus, as teams are not allowed to announce positive test results. Read more here.
- Bruins defenseman Steven Kampfer took to Twitter to state that he has opted out of the season’s return. The veteran revealed that his wife and son suffer from a congenital heart defect that can be complicated by the effects of COVID-19. For that reason, he decided that no one can fault him for to put his family’s health and safety first. Read more here.
- Edmonton defenseman Mike Green has opted out of the season. In a statement, the four-time All-Star cited “deeply personal family health reasons” behind his decision to sit out. Read more here.
- Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic is opting out of the NHL’s resumption, which he announced in a statement through his agency, Titan Sports 365. Hamonic’s daughter has had a previous battle with a life-threatening respiratory virus, and he has a new baby boy as well, so he is erring on the side of caution. Read more here.
- Canucks winger Sven Baertschi was expected to be among the team‘s list of nine recalls for its qualifying-round series vs. Minnesota, but that won’t be the case . He has informed the team that he has opted out of returning, reports Rick Dhaliwal of TSN 1040 and The Athletic. Read more here.
- Three U.S. National Team Development Program players have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Katie Strang and Craig Custance of The Athletic. The results throw the viability of holding the World Junior Summer Showcase later this month into question. Read more here.
- The NHLPA Executive Board voted on and approved the CBA extension. Included in that vote was approval for all return to play protocols as well. This now moves to the full NHLPA membership to vote on. A simple majority is required to pass the deal, and it’s fully expected to be approved. Read more here.
- The Bruins sent an email to season ticket holders asking fans to submit virtual cheers, chants, celebrations and booing to be featured in playoff games, according to SB Nation’s Stanley Cup of Chowder. Read more here.
- The NHL has set key dates for its season. The NHL hopes to complete the 24-team model to finish the 2019-20 season by crowning a Stanley Cup champion no later than Oct. 2, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. The Final gets underway Sept. 20, which means only one day off will separate fixtures. Read more here.
- The NHL plans to play three games per day at each bubble site, for a total of six contests a day, per TSN’s Bob McKenzie. These games will be held at the same times (12 p.m., 4 p.m., and 8 p.m.) but offset by the two-hour time difference local time Read more here.
- The NHL and NHLPA are already discussing the 2020-21 season. The NHL is focused on having a full, 82-game campaign next season despite a delayed start (in December or January), per TSN’s Pierre LeBrun. Read more here.
- We now at least have an idea of when the free agency period will begin. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that the agreement to extend expiring contracts runs through Oct. 31st, which means that the league is targeting Nov. 1 as the beginning of the 2020-21 calendar, which would also serve as the opening day of free agency. Read more here.
- While the NHL season still is on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, some players still are waiting to be paid, but it seems they won’t have to wait much longer. According to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan, NHL players who are due signing bonuses on July 1 will be paid as scheduled. There’s more than $300 million due to players across the league. Read more here.
- The Red Wings and NHL announced the cancellation of the 2020 NHL Prospect Tournament. The eight-team tournament typically takes place in September in Traverse City, Michigan, to showcase some of the game’s top young talent. Last year’s participants were the Stars, Blackhawks, Wild, Red Wings, Rangers, Blues, Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs. Read more here.
- The NHL salary cap rising within the next three seasons doesn’t sound so promising amid the coronavirus pandemic. The league and players’ association are working to get a deal done that would extend the current CBA. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that “as part of the agreement, the salary cap will be kept close to the current $81.5 million for the next three seasons. There is potential for it to go up $1 million in 2022-23.” Read more here.
- A veteran player in the Western Conference told The Athletic, according to ESPN, that “guys are not happy. This is why we better have a full player vote and not just an executive board vote. But I’m not convinced (NHLPA executive director) Don (Fehr) is going to allow that because he knows there’s so many of us on the fence. That’s why I think the league was trying to be hush-hush on these positive tests. In my opinion, no way we play.” Read more here.
- Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews has tested positive for COVID-19, according to Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun. Simmons adds that Matthews is is quarantining and self-isolating at his Arizona residence. Read more here.
- BAUER Hockey has designed a new face shield to keep players safe in their return to action. The company writes that its mask has an “additional splash protection around the mouth while maintaining a high level of vision and breathability.” It’s possible the NHL might require players to wear these masks, which will be available in August. Read more here.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
How the NFL has been preparing lately:
- Patriots WR Marqise Lee has opted out of the 2020 season due to coronavirus concerns. Lee becomes the seventh Patriot to opt out. Read more here.
- Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley has opted out of the 2020 season, citing family health concerns as his biggest reason. Read more here.
- The Lions have placed star quarterback Matthew Stafford on the reserve/COVID-19 list. This means Stafford has either tested positive for the virus or has been in close contact with someone who has contracted COVID-19. It does not necessarily mean that he has the virus himself. Read more here.
- The league is trying to make sure fewer players opt out of the season by moving up the opt-out deadline. The belief was that players would have one week from the time the restructured collective bargaining agreement becomes official to opt out. That’s no longer going to be the case. Read more here.
- Giants head coach Joe Judge believes players who have already committed to participating in the 2020 NFL season amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic won’t change their minds. So far the only Giants opt-out has been Nate Solder, and it seems it will stay that way. Read more here.
- Bears quarterback Nick Foles was never opting out of the 2020 NFL season regardless of what social media rumors. “There was never a discussion about opting out,” Foles said, per Nick Shook of NFL.com. Read more here.
- The Green Bay Packers are beginning their preparations for the 2020 NFL season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. When players arrived for the start of training camp, they were greeted by a redesigned locker room with changes that could be crucial for a full season of football. The Packers are taking a similar approach to the Detroit Lions, who unveiled their updated locker room on Wednesday, installing plexiglass barriers to keep players more separated. Read more here.
- Speaking to the Las Vegas Review-Journal‘s Mark Akers, Raiders owner Mark Davis said he will not permit any fans into Allegiant Stadium if all season-ticket holders aren’t able to attend games. Given his objection to reduced crowd sizes, the Raiders will likely choose to play in an empty stadium this year. Read more here.
- Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate announced earlier this week that he has tested positive for the coronavirus this offseason and has recovered. When asked about his workouts with Tom Brady and other teammates earlier this offseason, Brate said it was a risk similar to anyone playing this season. Read more here.
- When asked about the league’s preparedness, NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said he felt “cautiously optimistic” about the upcoming season. Read more here.
- The Buffalo Bills sent rookie players home on Thursday after five coronavirus tests from the week returned positive results. Read more here.
- Vikings Pro Bowl linebacker Anthony Barr was among those placed on the NFL reserve COVID-19 list. Read more here.
- Bucs head coach Bruce Arians revealed that he plans to wear a mask and shield on the sideline this season as a precaution against COVID-19. Read more here.
- Tramon Williams is 37 years old and without a team, but he still plans on playing in 2020. Like many NFL players, Williams has concerns about health issues and the league’s ability to protect players from coronavirus infection. Still, he’s leaning toward playing if he gets the opportunity. Read more here.
- Most NFL quarterbacks lick their fingers at some point during a game to help get a better grip on the football, but Drew Brees seems to do it more often than others. The New Orleans Saints star is trying to break that habit heading into 2020. Read more here.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate revealed that he has recovered from the coronavirus. In a video he shared on Instagram, Brate said he is fully recovered from COVID-19 and encouraged people to donate plasma to help fight the virus in others who contract it. Read more here.
- Due to the NFL’s new health and safety protocols, the Detroit Lions completely redesigned their locker room, and they shared photos of the update on Wednesday. From the photos, it appears some lockers are more socially distant than others, but all stalls have plexiglass dividers between them. Read more here.
- Saints head coach Sean Payton talked about the difficulties every team will face this fall and admitted he wouldn’t be surprised if a COVID-19 outbreak forces the NFL to suspend games. Read more here.
- New York Giants left tackle Nate Solder, who has been open for years about his son’s battle with cancer, confirmed on Wednesday he has elected to opt out of playing. Read more here.
- Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson confirmed via Twitter that he tested positive for the coronavirus. He held his annual “OL Masterminds Summit” in Dallas earlier this month, and many in attendance were seen not properly wearing face coverings and/or failing to observe social-distancing guidelines. Read more here.
- Chiefs Super Bowl hero Damian Williams is the latest NFL player to opt out of the season. Read more here.
The initial August 3 deadline for NFL players to decide whether or not to opt out of the 2020 season is likely to be pushed back due to delays in formalizing the league’s CBA adjustments. Read more here.
- As the NFL heads toward its season, there are growing concerns about the league’s ability to keep players safe in the midst of a global pandemic. It’s a concern that Chargers GM Tom Telesco is well aware of, and he says that teams will now be facing two opponents every time they take the field this year. Read more here.
- According to Sportico’s Mike Freeman, many coaches, general managers and team officials are against playing football during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.
- Ravens offensive lineman Andre Smith has opted out of the 2020 season, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. Read more here.
- Bears defensive tackle Eddie Goldman will opt out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 health concerns. Goldman’s decision leaves the Bears with a major void to fill up front, with just over a month to go before the scheduled start of the season. Read more here.
- Patriots safety Patrick Chung will opt out of the 2020 season, according to ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss. That makes Chung the sixth Patriots player to opt out, a list that also includes middle linebacker Dont’a Hightower and right tackle Marcus Cannon. Read more here.
- Bills defensive tackle Star Lotulelei will opt out of the 2020 season, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com. Read more here.
- Vikings nose tackle Michael Pierce is opting out of the 2020 season, according to Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com. Read more here.
- Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner is a cancer survivor, and his medical history has led some to wonder if he will opt out of the 2020 season under the NFL’s coronavirus agreement. That apparently will not be the case. Conner has informed the Steelers he will play this season, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Read more here.
- Eagles WR Marquise Goodwin has become the latest player to opt out of the upcoming NFL season, joining a growing list of players who are prioritizing their safety instead of taking the risk in playing during the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.
- Jets head coach Adam Gase revealed the organization has talked about placing a quarterback in quarantine this season. Read more here.
- Free agent offensive guard Larry Warford, a three-time Pro Bowler, has opted out of the 2020 NFL season as he looks to start a family. Read more here.
- The Washington Football Team announced it is offering season ticket holders full refunds for the 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The team noted that if some fans are allowed in attendance this coming season, they will be required to wear masks or other face coverings. Read more here.
- The Packers bypassed receiver prospects in the draft after signing Devin Funchess. But the recent acquisition will not play for Green Bay this season. He will opt out, Field Yates of ESPN.com reports. Read more here.
The deadline for players to opt out of the 2020 season will fall no earlier than Tuesday, Aug. 4, per Mike Florio of PFT. The deadline could also be later, depending on how fast the NFL and the NFLPA complete their paperwork. Read more here.
- Six players have been placed on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list, according to ESPN. The six players are Cleveland Browns running back Dontrell Hilliard, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Jon’Vea Johnson, Baltimore Ravens defensive back Nigel Warrior, Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Kendall Futrell, Browns defensive back Jovante Moffatt and Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Aleva Hifo. Read more here.
- The Minnesota Vikings have confirmed via an official club statement that head athletic trainer, vice president of sports medicine and the team’s infection control officer Eric Sugarman, as well as members of Sugarman’s family, tested positive for COVID-19. Read more here.
- As NFL training camps open to all players on Tuesday for a season unlike any other, football fans around the United States remain fearful that college seasons and the pro campaign won’t happen because of the worsening coronavirus pandemic. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addressed that and other matters via a letter released by the league office on Monday. Read more here.
- According to NBC Sports’ Peter King, the NFL is estimated to need at least 40,320 tests per week for players and staff during the daily testing period. The numbers could end up being even higher if any individual requires multiple tests. Read more here.
- Baltimore Ravens wide receiver and returner De’Anthony Thomas won’t play if the 2020 NFL season is held amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic. Baltimore confirmed on Monday that the 27-year-old has opted out of the campaign. Read more here.
- A third player will opt out of the 2020 season. Seahawks offensive lineman Chance Warmack, per NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo, will join Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and De’Anthony Thomas in doing so. Read more here.
- Vikings first-round pick Justin Jefferson has landed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list. Rookies Brian Cole, Blake Brandel and Tyler Higby are also now on this newly created list. Read more here.
- Patriots fullback Danny Vitale informed the team of his intentions to bypass the 2020 season, Jarrett Bell of USA Today reports. Read more here.
- There is some concern that a potential coronavirus outbreak could put a stop to the football season after it begins, but Richard Sherman does not see that happening. “I don’t see the league saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to shut down if 10 people get it, 15 people get it, 50 people get it,’” Sherman said on an Instagram Live interview with Pro Football Focus (via Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News). Read more here.
- Washington Football Team defensive tackle Caleb Brantley won’t play if there’s a 2020 NFL season held amid the coronavirus pandemic. As Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams wrote, Brantley is the first known player to take the “high-risk” opt-out available during training camps. Read more here.
- The NFL and NFL Players Association have agreed to an arrangement where a player who tests positive for COVID-19 can immediately be placed on a temporary injured reserve list, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Media. Read more here.
- While there might be plenty of changes coming for the 2020 NFL season, eliminating this season’s Pro Bowl likely won’t be one of them. Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the game will go on, and players will be get, which disputes an earlier report. Read more here.
- The adjusted CBA approved by both the NFL and NFLPA includes bans on many social functions, per Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk. Players will not be allowed to attend indoor bars or nightclubs, indoor house parties with greater than 15 people, indoor concerts, indoor worship services that allow greater than 25 percent capacity, and other professional sporting events. Read more here.
- Patrick Mahomes is feeling good about the precautions taken by the Chiefs for training camp, saying he was initially concerned about reporting to the team’s facility for camp due to COVID-19, but was reassured when he saw the steps that had been taken to prevent the spread of the virus. Read more here.
- Falcons RB Todd Gurley is prepared to sit out the 2020 season if the NFL and NFL Players Association can’t come up with a good plan for playing football safely amid growing COVID-19 concerns. Read more here.
- The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to some compromises regarding finances. Next year’s salary cap will be no lower than $175M, Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com report. Rather than borrowing money from projected future revenues through 2030 — as the players initially sought — this agreement will take projected funds through 2024 to help guard against a salary cap free fall this season could cause, Mark Maske of the Washington Post tweets. Read more here.
- The NFL is set to implement a unique policy to ensure that players who opt out of the 2020 NFL season still get some money. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, players who opt out are likely to receive a stipend of $300,000 based on current negotiations between the NFL and NFLPA. Read more here.
- The NFLPA has officially approved the league’s labor deal. See the provisions here.
- Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is the first NFL player to opt out of the season. He has been serving as an orderly at a long-care facility in Canada amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Duvernay-Tardif started 14 regular-season games and all three postseason contests for the Chiefs last year, helping them win Super Bowl 54 over the 49ers. Read more here.
- The Athletic has released a new NFL fan survey that shows the majority of fans would not be comfortable attending a game until there is a vaccine for the coronavirus. Read more here.
- According to ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio, coaches are antsy regarding a complete lack of information from the NFL regarding rules and procedures for training camp. The only thing head coaches know is there will be no preseason games, the league is enforcing social-distancing guidelines and roster sizes could be reduced from 90 to 80. Read more here.
- Tom Brady reported to the Buccaneers’ team facility for the first time Thursday to be tested for COVID-19 as part of his onboarding process with his new team. Read more here.
- The NFL has developed a face shield players can wear during games that could help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Mike Garafolo of NFL Network shared a sketch of the face shield. See it here.
- The players’ union has proposed a flat cap in 2021. However, team owners want most of the financial blow to be experienced this season and next. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, that “could lead to a rash of veteran cuts.” Read more here.
- The NFL announced Wednesday that fans will be required to wear masks to all games this season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.
- NFL refs won’t work training-camp sessions to avoid potential virus outbreaks among personnel, per ESPN’s Kevin Seifert. This means members of the NFL Referees Association won’t work on the field until Week 1 of the regular season, assuming the campaign gets underway, as planned. Read more here.
- The NFL is reportedly expecting to spend up to $75 million on COVID-19 testing this season. The league will rely on consistent testing to ensure that the coronavirus is not spreading among players and team personnel. Read more here.
- According to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, the current NFL collective bargaining agreement allows the NFL Draft to be moved to no later than the first week of June. While not a huge delay, it could potentially allow a spring college football season to be played and completed before the annual draft. Read more here.
- The NFLPA has told players that all preseason games are canceled. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport confirmed the news. This has long been the expected outcome regarding preseason. Read more here.
- Although preseason has been canceled, Packers president Mark Murphy nevertheless believes football fans will get a season at some point. Murphy reportedly added that he’s “confident” there will be a season even if fans can’t attend games. However, he’s not ready to close the Lambeau Field doors just yet. Read more here.
- The competition committee has endorsed a plan to allow an unlimited number of players to return from IR this season, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The committee is also recommending teams be permitted to move players from IR back to the active roster after three weeks instead of the usual eight. Read more here.
- Since this year’s college football season might get moved to the spring, would the NFL accommodate players by moving the 2021 NFL Draft. Bruce Feldman of The Athletic explored that notion and reported that it’s one possibility. Read more here.
- As Stu Jackson wrote for the team’s official website, the Rams have informed season-ticket holders that “SoFi Stadium will be at limited or no capacity in 2020” and that season tickets are deferred to the 2021 campaign. Read more here.
- If the New York Giants and New York Jets can play home NFL games this fall amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic, they will do so without fans attending MetLife Stadium. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy confirmed that guidelines prohibiting large outdoor gatherings apply to all sports teams in the state. Read more here.
- In a coordinated effort, many stars blasted the NFL on social media over the league’s apparent lack of safety protocols in place. J.J. Watt, Richard Sherman, Byron Jones, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Jarvis Landry and many others were among the players to tweet messages along with the hashtag #WeWantToPlay. Throughout the day, more and more players tweeted that hashtag in order to send the league a message. Read more here.
- Despite all this concern, the league is not willing to budge on potentially pushing back the start of the season. Per Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, the NFL’s league office is not receptive to the idea of delaying football season. Read more here.
- It doesn’t look like fans will be able to attend games, and if they can’t — or will be limited in capacity — Raiders owner Mark Davis says he won’t go to games either. Davis told Vic Tafur of The Athletic: “I won’t go if the fans can’t go, and the way it looks right now there won’t be any fans at our games.” Read more here.
- Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence is considering sitting out the season, telling ESPN.com’s Todd Archer that he’s concerned for his family’s safety, especially since he and his wife have a baby on the way. The league’s lack of safety protocols makes him think, “Man, are we some pawns? Is my life just a game.” Read more here.
- Veteran Los Angeles Rams offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth said that he and his entire family tested positive for the coronavirus this offseason. Read more here.
- NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith said the salary cap could drop by $70 million per team next season. Read more here.
- The NFL released travel rules for teams for the 2020 season, and they are strict, per ESPN’s Dan Graziano. Check out the rules here.
- Ravens tight end Mark Andrews is planning to play this fall amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic even though he is high-risk for COVID-19 since he has type 1 diabetes. Read more here.
- The Patriots will limit attendance at Gillette Stadium this season to just 20 percent capacity, the team announced. As a result, the Patriots will likely see their attendance drop from 65,000-plus in previous seasons to far fewer than 20,000 this year. Read more here.
- Pat Loeb of KYW News Radio reported that Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is banning large outdoor gatherings through the end of next February due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic. That order includes organizations such as the Philadelphia Phillies and Philadelphia Eagles. Read more here.
- While much of the U.S. is experiencing an uptick in COVID-19 cases, some areas are worse than others. As such some within the NFL are concerned about opening training camps in “hot spot” cities, per the Washington Post’s Mark Maske. That could include training camps in California, Florida, Texas and Arizona. Read more here.
- The NFL has unveiled the Oakley Mouth Shield, a product designed to help reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading during NFL games. The league is sending the Mouth Shield to all 32 teams, with large-scale testing expected to help properly measure the product’s effectiveness. Read more here.
- Aaron Rodgers questioned whether or not the league will be able to have a full season. “I think top of mind is are we gonna have a season?” Rodgers told Pro Football Talk. “I think there’s a lot of things yet to be figured out. We’re hopeful, we’re hopeful that it’s with fans and we can get all the testing procedures down the way they want it for the utmost amount of safety. But I think we’re kind of waiting for the league and the [NFL Players Association] to figure some things out.” Read more here.
- Meanwhile, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll acknowledged the unprecedented nature of the situation and said that the league may need to consider delaying training camp. Read more here.
- Texans safety Justin Reid is calling on the NFL to delay the upcoming season, telling the Houston Chronicle: “I think it would be beneficial to delay the season two or three weeks, so that way we can answer a lot of questions that, us as players .. have procedurally on how the season is going to happen.” Read more here.
- Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill has been released from the hospital following his COVID-19 diagnosis. In a statement, Bidwill thanked front-line workers and detailed his experience with the virus. Read more here.
- The NFL Referees Association wants to ensure the safety its officials. As a result, referees are expected to wear gloves and face coverings this season to reduce the risk of contracting the coronavirus, per Pelissero. Read more here
- Buccaneers’ Donovan Smith expressed his concern with the NFL season being played in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, stating that the upcoming birth of his first child has him questioning if he should play football at all. “Risking my health as well as my family’s health does not seem like a risk worth taking,” he said. Read more here.
- The Jaguars have announced their plans for home games for the upcoming season, which includes filling TIAA Bank Field to 25 percent capacity and requiring fans to wear masks. Read more here.
- The NFL created another set of protocols for players and teams to follow during the upcoming season. Now, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the league is forbidding players from postgame interactions within six feet and will no longer allow jersey swaps. Read more here.
- 49ers star CB Richard Sherman mocked the league for not allowing jersey exchanges but claiming games can safely be played with full contact. Read more here.
- Coaches and players won’t be required to wear masks on the sidelines. Everyone else in the bench does have to wear a mask, reports NFL insider Ian Rapoport. Read more here.
- Texans pass-rusher J.J. Watt says that if the league forces players to wear face masks while they play, he will sit out the season — though it sounds like since they won’t be required to wear them on the sidelines, it may be a moot point. Read more here.
Mike Ehrmann-Handout Photo
The latest from the world of golf since competition resumed:
- Roughly two weeks after PGA commissioner Jay Monahan suggested the U.S. Open in Mamaroneck, New York could welcome fans, USGA CEO Mike Davis announced in an official statement that the 120th edition of the tournament held at Winged Foot Golf Club from Sept. 17-20 will happen behind closed doors. Read more here.
- Golf legend Jack Nicklaus revealed that he and his wife, Barbara, battled COVID-19 earlier this year, per Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker. Barbara did not experience symptoms, while the 80-year-old Nicklaus said he had a sore throat and a cough but was not symptomatic for very long. Read more here.
- The 2020-21 season is scheduled to begin in September, and PGA commissioner Jay Monahan remained open to fans potentially attending at least a couple of tournaments before the new year while touching upon the subject on Wednesday, per ESPN’s Mike Wells. Read more here.
- After nearly five months away, Tiger Woods is set to return to the PGA Tour when he competes at the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio. Why didn’t Woods decide to come back earlier, like many other golfers did? The 15-time major winner says he wanted to make sure he felt safe and comfortable before officially returning. Read more here.
- The remainder of the 2019-20 PGA Tour season will finish without fans attending tournaments due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic, the PGA announced. Read more here.
- The PGA Tour announced the 2020 World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational held at TPC Southwind in Memphis will occur July 30-Aug. 2 as scheduled but without spectators in attendance due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.
- The PGA of America is planning to announce that the Ryder Cup (scheduled to occur at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin this September) is postponed until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, per ESPN’s Bob Harig. Read more here.
- The Jack Nicklaus Memorial Tournament held at the Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio from July 16-19 will not welcome spectators as hoped amid the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.
- PGA Tour golfer Cameron Champ isn’t convinced he had the coronavirus when he withdrew from the Travelers Championship last week. Champ says that even though he tested positive ahead of the Travelers Championship, that it probably was a false positive. “Through the specialist that we worked with, at this point it’s clear that I never had it,” Champ said, according to Yahoo Sports. ”Still being precautious because if I happen to do get it, then it affects my family deeply.” Read more here.
- Harris English withdrew from the Rocket Mortgage Classic held in Detroit after he became the fifth PGA Tour player to test positive for the coronavirus. English did not play in last week’s Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Hartford, Conn., but he tested positive on Monday upon his arrival to Detroit. Read more here.
- The PGA Tour has announced a major change to one of its safety policies in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak among golfers. The new rule prohibits players from coming on property while waiting for their first test results in a new city, according to ESPN’s Nick Pietruszkiewicz. Starting next week, all who are considered to be “inside the bubble” will need a negative test result before being allowed on the course. This includes players, caddies, instructors, doctors and other various staff members. The Tour previously allowed players and caddies to come on site while awaiting their coronavirus test results. Read more here.
- “At least one player, possibly two, tested have positive for COVID-19 at the Travelers Championship,” reported Brian Wacker of Golf Digest. It’s not yet known which player(s) tested positive for the virus. Read more here.
- Denny McCarthy then withdrew from the Travelers Championship held at TPC River Highlands in Hartford after he became the third PGA Tour player confirmed to test positive for the coronavirus. Read more here.
- Graeme McDowell is set to withdraw from the Travelers Championship on Wednesday following the news that his caddie has tested positive for the coronavirus. McDowell’s caddie, Ken Comboy, believes he may have been exposed to the virus after the Charles Schwab Challenge two weeks ago when he was forced to fly in a full commercial flight to Orlando because his private plane was too small for his traveling party. Read more here.
- Brooks Koepka is withdrawing from this week’s Travelers Championship as well after his caddie, Ricky Elliott, tested positive for the coronavirus, the golfer told Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch. Elliott previously tested negative for the virus on Monday but received his positive diagnosis after a test Wednesday morning at TPC River Highlands. Read more here.
- PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan confirmed that Webb Simpson and Chase Koepka added their names to the list of players who pulled out from this week’s Travelers Championship held at TPC River Highlands in Hartford, Conn. due to COVID-19 concerns. Monahan explained that Chase Koepka and Simpson both produced negative on-site tests but withdrew out of caution. Read more here.
- The PGA Tour has confirmed its second positive COVID-19 test since resuming its season amid the pandemic this month. The PGA announced that Cameron Champ withdrew from the Travelers Championship held at TPC River Highlands in Hartford, Conn., after he recorded a positive test. Read more here.
- The PGA Tour confirmed that the PGA Championship would go down at San Francisco’s Harding Park without spectators because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The first major championship of the season won’t be moved from Harding Park even though the Tour strongly considered relocating the tournament so that a percentage of spectators could watch the action in person. Instead, the PGA Championship, postponed from May 14-17 to Aug. 6-9, will take place on the West Coast as planned. Read more here.
- The Ryder Cup — originally scheduled to take place this September at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin — likley will be postponed to 2021, according to Ewan Murray of The Guardian. Murray adds that the PGA of America and the European Tour, which both chair the Ryder Cup, won’t consider holding the competition without fans on the course. Read more here.
- Roughly 48 hours after the PGA Tour boasted about recording zero positive results among 954 on-site coronavirus tests over the past two weeks, one player has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. Rival’s Nathan Hubbard tweeted the news on Friday and added that the Tour hasn’t yet confirmed. Read more here.
- Despite a mandatory two-week quarantine following international travel to the U.S., Rory McIlroy says that anyone who is serious about golfing should be willing to deal with it. McIlroy has been staying in his home in Florida, so travel to the U.S. hasn’t been an issue for him. “We all have the means to rent a very nice house … and it’s not a hardship for two weeks to come over and quarantine,” he said, per ESPN. Read more here.
- The PGA Tour has recorded its second straight week of no positive COVID-19 tests among players, caddies and other personnel. The Tour administered 954 on-site tests, and they all have come back negative. Read more here.
Brynn Anderson-Pool Photo
What’s the latest from the world of NASCAR:
- Over 20,000 fans were in attendance at Wednesday night’s NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway to watch fan-favorite Chase Elliott pull off another win. The event is believed to have the highest attendance of any sporting event in America since the pandemic began. Read more here.
- Jimmie Johnson was forced to miss a race for the first time in his career following a positive coronavirus test, and he expressed his confusion with the whole situation, as he never had any symptoms and tested negative just three days later. “My first response was just anger. I started cussing and used every cuss word that I knew of and I think invented a few new ones,” Johnson said. “It was just so weird — the anger — because I’ve been asymptomatic. Anger hits. Read more here.
- After testing positive for COVID-19 last week and missing the Brickyard 400, seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson will return to the track. The 44-year-old tested negative for the coronavirus twice, according to the Associated Press, and has been cleared to race at Kentucky Speedway. Read more here.
- NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson announced in a statement that he has tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, he will miss Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “My first priority is the health and safety of my loved ones and my teammates,” Johnson said in a statement. “I’ve never missed a race in my Cup career.” Read more here.
- NASCAR announced fans will be allowed to attend races on a limited basis starting on Sunday, June 14. There will be 1,000 military members invited to attend Sunday’s Dixie Vodka 400 in Miami, while 5,000 fans can sit in the grandstand at the GEICO 500 at Talladega on June 21. NASCAR will implement numerous safety guidelines at the first sporting events with fans in attendance since the pandemic began. Read more here.
- Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern reported NASCAR executives recently had discussions about allowing fans to return to the stands as early as some time in June. Stern cites Homestead-Miami Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway as tracks that could be among the first to welcome fans (in a limited capacity) back to the stands. Read more here.
- NASCAR returned with the Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway. The race, which was won by Kevin Harvick, featured increased safety measures, including social distancing, limited team members and temperature checks. The event drew over 6.3 million viewers. The Xfinity Series resumed on May 21 in Darlington. Chase Briscoe won the race.
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
The most recent news from the NCAA:
- Teams in the Big Ten have been informed that there may not be games this fall, Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated reports. Read more here.
- The Hoosiers football program resumed voluntary workouts two weeks after a coronavirus outbreak temporarily halted training sessions. Earlier this month, six individuals linked with the team tested positive. Read more here.
- The Longhorns football players will be wearing special helmets this coming season that feature a face shield. Check them out here.
- The Pac-12 announced on Friday that it is moving ahead with a conference-only college football schedule for the 2020 season that will tentatively begin on Sept. 26. Every program will play five home games and five road contests. Fixtures that are postponed, for whatever reasons, can be made up during bye weeks or on Dec. 12. The Pac-12 Championship Game is set for Dec. 18 or Dec. 19 and will occur in a home-hosted model. Read more here.
- Notre Dame will partner with the ACC for the upcoming college football season but according to the school’s athletic director, the decision was made due to the coronavirus pandemic rather than “Notre Dame’s long-term assessment of independence.” Read more here.
- Sept. 5. is likely the opening date for the Big Ten season and that a full schedule could be out before Sunday. Read more here.
- The Sec will begin a 10-game conference-only slate that kicks off on Sept. 26. Winners of the two divisions will meet for the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 19. Read more here.
- The Big 12 announced it’s canceling its virtual media day scheduled for Aug. 3. Read more here.
- The NCAA Board of Governors is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, Aug. 4, to discuss how and if college sports are possible with coronavirus cases rising throughout the U.S. One of the options is canceling fall sports. Read more here.
- Penn State athletics confirmed that at least eight student-athletes returned positive coronavirus results during the university’s latest testing round. PSU completed 466 tests among student-athletes as of July 24. Results of 66 of those tests were unknown as of Wednesday afternoon. Staff members weren’t included in this testing data. Read more here.
- Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley has elected to skip any version of a college football season held amid the coronavirus pandemic so he can prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. Read more here.
- The NCAA’s withdrawal deadline for players to pull out of the 2020 draft class is August 3. However, the NBA is allowing early entrants to declare up until August 17, since the draft itself has been postponed until October. As a result, an NCAA underclassman who is struggling with his decision could withdraw by August 3, then re-enter by August 17 if he has change of heart. At that point, he’d be forgoing his remaining college eligibility, but it would essentially give him an extra two weeks to make up his mind. Read more here.
- The ACC has finalized its model for the football season, which includes 10 in-conference games and one nonconference game. Notre Dame will also play under these league rules and, thus, will be eligible to compete in the ACC Championship Game. Read more here.
- Stadium’s Brett McMurphy reported if Ohio State can have football fans, they will be required to wear masks and the stadium capacity will likely be limited to 20 percent. Read more here.
- The Iowa Hawkeyes men’s basketball program halted workouts for 14 days following a pair of coronavirus test results among players. Read more here.
- The Arizona Wildcats football program has suspended redshirt junior offensive lineman Edgar Burrola after he failed to follow COVID-19 protocols. According to Michael Lev of Tucson.com, Burrola was resistant to adhering to protocols like using a mask and distancing. That led to fears within the program that, without taking action, it could end up having to quarantine everyone like Michigan State and Rutgers were forced to do after outbreaks within their programs. Read more here.
- The NCAA has granted all major college football programs the right to start their seasons on Aug. 29, also known as “Week Zero,” per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN). Teams previously not scheduled to play in August were set to open campaigns over Labor Day weekend. Read more here.
- Michigan State announced that 16 student-athletes and four staff members tested positive for COVID-19 in the school’s latest round of testing. ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg reported that 122 student-athletes, as well as other personnel, were tested over the last week. All MSU athletes who test positive, as well as those who have contact with infected individuals, must quarantine for two weeks. Read more here.
- The entire Rutgers football program is quarantining for 14 days after learning of six positive COVID-19 results in its latest weekly testing cycle. The Rutgers news comes just one day after Michigan State was forced to enact the same protocol. Read more here.
- The Oklahoma Sooners football team announced that they have moved up the date of their first game of the season. Oklahoma and Missouri State have agreed to play on Aug. 29, which is a week earlier than they initially planned to play. The reason they bumped up the game is to allow for as much flexibility as possible regarding their season as they navigate the issues related to the coronavirus. Read more here.
- In stunning news, the Michigan State football program announced Friday that the entire team will quarantine for 14 days. This news comes on the heels of Thursday’s announcement that workouts had been suspended following a positive COVID-19 test. Read more here.
- The NCAA has announced the body will not cancel college football or other fall sports, or make a decision on championships before the end of July, saying the situation will be revisited in August. Read more here.
- The Pac-12 announced recently that it will play a conference-only football schedule in 2020, and we now know that the start of the season will be a bit delayed. According to Jon Wilner of The Mercury News, the Pac-12 is preparing for teams to play 10-game schedules beginning on Sept 19. Read more here.
- The ACC is coming up with plans for a modified college football schedule this fall. According to Yahoo’s Pete Thamel, the ACC is considering an 11-game schedule. The schedule would include 10 conference games and one nonconference game, and it would not start on time. Read more here.
- New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham sent a letter to New Mexico and New Mexico State asking them to suspend their football seasons, according to Geoff Grammar of the Albuquerque Journal. In her letter, Lujan Grisham cited the rising number of coronavirus cases in the state among young people ages 20-39. Read more here.
- Toledo head football coach Jason Candle confirmed that he recently tested positive for the coronavirus. Candle will self-isolate until he returns negative coronavirus test results and is cleared to rejoin team sessions. Read more here.
- The Pac-12 announced its annual China basketball game has been canceled this year due to the pandemic. The Washington Huskies and Tulane Green Wave were scheduled to meet in China this November. Read more here.
- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared that spectators can’t attend collegiate fall sports competitions in the state if seasons begin in that state amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic. Cuomo did, however, give the go-ahead for games to occur and air on television and radio. Read more here.
- ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported Monday that his NFL sources have told him “several star players could sit out the collegiate season.” Read more here.
- The Pac-12 postponed football media days “until further notice” and announced a later date for media availability will be determined. Read more here.
- The Texas Longhorns are preparing for a football season that will include fans at home games. Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte emailed season ticket holders and said that Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium may be filled up to 50% capacity for contests, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN). Read more here.
- Auburn will need a new opponent for Week 1 of the college football season now that the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) announced that it is postponing all fall sports. The Tigers were scheduled to host Alcorn State on Saturday, Sept. 5 to begin their season. That game will not be happening. Read more here.
- Kirk Herbstreit said he would be “surprised” to see the entire college football season canceled, believing instead that schools and conferences will simply keep postponing things if it comes to that. Read more here.
- The America East Conference and Atlantic 10 Conference became the latest collegiate bodies to cancel fall sports due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.
- The Indiana Hoosiers football team has paused workouts after six individuals tested positive for COVID-19. As ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren wrote, this pause affects only the football program. Read more here.
- The SEC announced that student-athletes on scholarships who don’t wish to participate in seasons amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic will have those scholarships honored by member universities. Read more here.
- NCAA president Mark Emmert is questioning whether there will be fall sports at all, saying in an official statement: “Today, sadly, the data point in the wrong direction. If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic.” Read more here.
- The Colonial Athletic Association is expected to cancel the 2020 college football season, per The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman. Read more here.
- The Horizon League confirmed that all fall sports competitions within the conference are suspended through the end of September, at least, due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.
- The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference announced it has indefinitely suspended all fall sports. The MEAC added that no decision has been made on potentially moving the fall sports calendar to next spring. Read more here.
- UNC football head coach Mack Brown is frustrated with the NCAA, telling Paul Finebaum: “I really wish we’d have a commissioner of college football. We wouldn’t have different leagues doing different things and so much uncertainty.” Read more here.
- The University of Michigan has announced there will be no season tickets for the upcoming college football season. The school announced that all season tickets will be put on pause until next year, meaning that fans won’t have to risk their safety just to hold onto their season tickets. If games are allowed to be played in front of fans at all, season-ticket holders will have an opportunity to buy tickets to the game and no tickets will go on sale to the general public. Read more here.
- LSU coach Ed Orgeron says that America needs football more than ever and that it absolutely should not be canceled. “We need to play. This state needs it; this country needs it,” Orgeron said. Read more here.
- Wearing masks has become a controversial subject. However, Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz has one simple request for fans: wear masks. Per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), Drinkwitz believes wearing masks can help save the 2020 college football season, which is now in doubt. Read more here.
- The Rose Bowl Game remains on the college football schedule even though the 2021 Rose Bowl Parade is now canceled due to the uncontrolled virus outbreak, via ESPN’s Andrea Adelson. Read more here.
- Although the Pac-12 and Big Ten announced that they were going to conference-only schedules, the SEC might not follow suit. Despite league commissioner Greg Sankey saying they need health trends related to the coronavirus to improve, he says they are still considering a full schedule for football. Sankey told Adam Schein that a full schedule was on the table during an interview on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio. Read more here.
- Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley is holding on to any glimmer of hope for college football, even if it means pushing games back to early 2021. “I just can’t imagine a scenario (where we don’t play),” Riley said. “Whether it’s something we do in the fall, whether it’s a shortened season, whether it’s spring, there’s nothing we should take off the table.” Read more here.
- Per an official statement, the SEC postponed volleyball, soccer and cross country competitions through the end of August. Read more here.
- Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin told reporters that he’s recovered after testing positive for the coronavirus last month. Per ESPN’s Andrea Adelson, Stricklin explained that he dealt with mild symptoms and quarantined for 10 days. Additionally, Stricklin was non-committal when speaking about college football and other fall sports starting and completing seasons as scheduled. “Right now, there’s no way of really knowing.” Read more here.
- The Patriot League has announced that it will be cancel fall sports, with a decision on winter sports being made at a later time. The U.S. Military Academy and Naval Academy are exempt from the cancellation, and their superintendents will be responsible for making any decisions in regard to competitive sports. Read more here.
- Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk is committed to continuing the tradition of his program facing Army, even this season. “If there’s only one game we’re going to play, it’s the Army-Navy game. Unless the pandemic is such at the time that we’re precluded by the city of Philadelphia to play that game, we have every intention of playing Army-Navy.” Navy is scheduled to face Army at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field on Dec. 12. Read more here.
- Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard provided a look at how much revenue his school could lose this year. In an open letter, Pollard estimated that Iowa State’s athletic department would incur approximately $40 million “in unfunded expenses in the next six months” if fall sports are canceled. Read more here.
- SEC commissioner Greg Sankey appeared on “The Paul Finebaum Show” and said, “time is an asset that’s rapidly slipping away” regarding the college football season. Sankey is not yet ready to make a final determination when it comes to scheduling, saying that he will decide later this month. Read more here.
- The 2020 JUCO football season is expected to be pushed to the spring, per The Athletic’s Max Olson. The decision comes after NJCAA president and CEO sided with the NJCAA’s presidential advisory council in their recent recommendation to move fall sports to next spring. For some of the top JUCO recruits in the 2020 class, this could lead to them transferring before the junior college football season begins. Read more here.
- The uncertainty surrounding the 2020 CFB season has some top players thinking ahead. Many top draft-eligible prospects could jump ship if fall sports are moved to next spring. Per The Athletic’s Ben Standig, agents are talking to high-profile stars, and it now looks increasingly likely that multiple players could skip the season to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. Read more here.
- The Maryland Terps football team has canceled voluntary workouts after nine of 158 student-athletes tested returned positive results. Despite this being about a 5% positive test rate, those in charge at Maryland decided canceling workouts made the most sense. Read more here.
- SEC commissioner Greg Sankey is now admitting football could be in jeopardy. During an interview on ESPN Radio’s “Marty & McGee,” Sankey admitted that his concern for the upcoming football season is “high to very high.” Given SEC teams will open their schedules in the first week of September, he also admitted that the conference is running out of time to get things done. Read more here.
- UConn has reported zero positive COVID-19 results among 150 student-athletes tested since June 19. Read more here.
- The Pac-12 announced conference-only schedules for football and other fall sports. The conference also temporarily postponed mandatory athletic activities. Football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball are all affected by this announcement. Read more here.
- Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has tested positive for the coronavirus. The conference released a statement about the situation, saying Scott got tested after experiencing mild flu-like symptoms. Scott is said to be self-quarantining while continuing to operate in his role as commissioner. Read more here.
- A recent survey of all 130 FBS athletic directors was conducted by Stadium’s Brett McMurphy. Of the 130 ADs polled, 73 percent indicated they expect the 2020 college football season to be delayed. Even more alarming for Power 5 conference, only 22 percent of their athletic directors believe the season will start on schedule. Read more here.
- Division III’s Centennial Conference became the latest sports league to suspend sports this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centennial Conference, home to 11 programs, announced that it will suspend all sports for the remainder of the year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.
- Stanford announced it is cutting 11 varsity sports programs due to ramifications from the COVID-19 pandemic. The programs include men’s and women’s fencing, field hockey, lightweight rowing, men’s rowing, co-ed and women’s sailing, squash, synchronized swimming, men’s volleyball and wrestling. Read more here.
- The Big Ten conference has announced that fall sports will play conference-only games, if the seasons happen at all. Additionally, the Big Ten also added that member institutions will honor the scholarships of student-athletes who decide not to participate in their respective sports this season due to coronavirus-related concerns. Read more here.
- Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren told reporters he’s “very concerned” about the outlook for the 2020 CFB season, via Peter Thamel of Yahoo Sports. Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith echoed those thoughts, also saying he’s “very concerned” for the state of fall college sports, via ESPN Cleveland. Read more about Warren’s thoughts here, and check out what else Smith said here.
- The Ivy League has canceled football and all other fall sports, per CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein. No fall sports will be played until at least the start of the new year. The conference will provide an update on winter sports in “mid-July.” Stadium’s Brett McMurphy added that the Ivy League football campaign could be pushed back to the spring, or that the conference’s next season may not begin until the fall of 2021. Read more here.
- Carnegie Mellon has decided to cancel fall sports. Athletic director Josh Centor told students in an email on Wednesday: “We cannot appropriately return to sport at this time.” Read more here.
- Ohio State announced it is pausing voluntary workouts after positive COVID-19 tests. “Seven teams’ workouts are affected by this pause: men’s and women’s basketball, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball,” the statement read. It’s not known when Ohio State intends to resume training sessions. Read more here.
- Stadium’s Brett McMurphy tweeted that zero of the 103 Notre Dame football players tested returned positive results last week. To date, only one player has tested positive, while the school has accumulated 251 negative tests among personnel. Read more here.
- As uncertainty grows regarding the 2020 college football season, there is “increased momentum” to delay the campaign until the spring, per New York Post’s Howie Kussoy and Zach Braziller, who reported that one Power Five athletic director said: “What’s most sensible is the spring.” Read more here.
- Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott is no longer feeling optimistic about the 2020 CFB season. “I think the situation’s a lot more perilous than it was a few weeks ago,” Scott said, via the NCAA. The U.S. is currently seeing a massive spike in several areas of the country, most notably Florida, California and Arizona. Read more here.
- Kansas’ athletic department announced Friday that it is suspending voluntary workouts for the football team indefinitely after 12 players tested positive for COVID-19. In the statement, the university said it will require every football player and staff member to self-quarantine for 14 days, following the CDC’s guidelines for those in close contact with a person carrying the virus. Read more here.
- ESPN analyst Paul Finebaum continues to be pessimistic regarding the state of the 2020 college football season. Finebaum stated the chances of the season getting played is “below 50 percent.” Read more here.
- The administration for USC sent a letter to its student body earlier this week, recommending that students take classes online and avoid housing themselves on or near campus. The administration did leave open the possibility of low-density activities on campus. That could obviously include the Trojans football team, but for now, this is not great news as it relates to the 2020 college football season. Read more here.
- New Iona basketball coach Rick Pitino tweeted some thoughts about the upcoming CBB campaign, urging the NCAA to delay the start of 2020 CBB season until January. Additionally, he suggests team play only league games as an additional safety measure. As it relates to his ideas, Pitino said: “Although I can’t wait to be back on the sidelines, the health of my players and staff is what’s really important.” Read more here.
- Rutgers president Jonathan Holloway is throwing cold water on the possibility of playing a college football season this year. Holloway spoke with NJ Advance Media’s Adam Clark and said: I think we are far from certain that we are going to have a college football season in the fall. Maybe in the spring, but even then we are just guessing right now.” Read more here.
- As it pertains to spring college football, count Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour among those who are against that idea. Per ESPN’s Heather Dinich, Barbour said: “One of the biggest challenges [of a spring season] — and it’s probably the biggest one in my mind — is the proximity to next season, and frankly a second lost spring ball.” Read more here.
- Add Oklahoma Sooners football to the list of college teams experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak. Bruce Feldman from The Athletic reported there are 12 players who have active cases of the coronavirus, plus two others who have recovered. There’s also two cases among the coaching staff. Read more here.
- Southeast Missouri and Dayton have announced that their matchup on Sept. 3 is canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the decision is mutual, Dayton cited challenges created by the pandemic as the reasoning to cancel the game. Specifically, the Flyers wouldn’t have enough time to prepare themselves for the season with practice time dramatically limited by the worsening pandemic. Read more here.
- Morehouse College will not have a football or cross country season this fall due to COVID-19 concerns, the school announced Friday. President David A. Thomas released a statement saying that the college will not compete in intercollegiate athletic competitions not only to keep athletes safe, but everyone else on campus as well. Read more here.
- Texas Tech University’s athletic department announced that it conducted 197 COVID-19 tests of football players and staff. The results determined that 23 members of the Red Raiders’ football program had the coronavirus. While the 23 cases is among the highest figures to be reported by colleges thus far, none of those with the virus have been hospitalized and 21 have recovered. Read more here.
- Clemson has announced that 14 additional football players have tested positive for COVID-19. That brings the total up to 37 cases. Read more here.
- As several schools have been forced to eliminate sports programs, Michigan might be next. Michigan, one of the most recognized schools in the U.S. and a powerhouse in athletics, estimates a $26.1 million budget deficit for the 2020-21 academic year. Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel is projecting a dire situation for the Wolverines, as he described to The Detroit News. It could become even worse if there is no college football season this year. Read more here.
- The University of Connecticut is officially eliminating four of its sports programs, becoming the latest school to make significant cuts from its athletics program amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The board made the cuts official, per the Hartford Courant’s Alexa Philippou, approving the new budget on Wednesday. As a result, the Huskies will eliminate their men’s cross country, men’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis and women’s rowing programs at the end of the 2020-21 academic year. Read more here.
- Penn State head coach James Franklin has announced that he will be isolating himself away from his family this season. Franklin told HBO’s “Real Sports” that his family will remain in Florida while he coaches the Nittany Lions to protect his 12-year-old daughter, who suffers from sickle cell disease and is therefore considered a high-risk individual for COVID-19. Franklin is unlikely the only college coach to have an immediate family fall into that category. Perhaps other coaches will follow suit. Read more here.
- Regarding fan attendance, Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer says he is “planning on a full stadium.” As for his thinking, he believes it’s easier to prepare for the high-end scenario and adjust down than the other way around. Read more here.
- The University of Florida has become the latest school to see a spike in the coronavirus, confirming that 11 student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19. Read more here.
- At least 30 LSU football players are now in quarantine due to a COVID-19 outbreak, according to Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger. The Athletic’s Brody Miller reported that there are at least a dozen positive cases on the football team. Read more here.
- Clemson announced that 28 student-athletes returned positive COVID-19 results out of 315 tests. The Athletic’s Grace Raynor reported 23 of those 28 athletes are football players. Most individuals were described to be asymptomatic. None required hospitalization as of the start of the weekend. Read more here.
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Here is what has happened most recently in the world of tennis:
- Ashleigh Barty, currently the no. 1-ranked women’s tennis player in the world, announced that she will not participate in the U.S. Open next month due to safety concerns. The 24-year-old Australian made the announcement, explaining that she felt uncomfortable about traveling in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.
- Even though Wimbledon has been canceled, all qualified players still will get paid. The All England Lawn and Tennis Club, which hosts Wimbledon, announced Friday that it will pay prize money to all players that would have qualified for the canceled tournament, according to ESPN. Read more here.
- Tennis star Novak Djokovic has become a very controversial character since his Adria Tour was held with thousands of spectators amid the coronavirus pandemic. Djokovic and his wife later tested positive, and so did other tour participants. Now he thinks the media has treated him unfairly. “It’s like an agenda and a witch-hunt are on,” Djokovic told the Serbian newspaper, Sportski Zurnal, (h/t TMZ). Read more here.
- Novak Djokovic and his wife have tested negative for coronavirus just 10 days after it was revealed the couple had tested positive. After testing positive, Djokovic and Jelena went into self-isolation, and before testing negative, the two had not shown any symptoms of COVID-19. The two tested positive shortly after Djokovic organized the Adria Tour, an exhibition held in Zadar, Croatia. Read more here.
- The French Open is planning to have fans in the stands, as the French Tennis Federation announced that over half the amount of usual fans will be allowed to attend the tournament. “The number of spectators allowed in the stadium will be 50%-60% of the usual capacity,” the FFT said. “This reduction will allow strict distancing measures to be respected.” Read more here.
- There is some drama in the tennis world in the wake of Novak Djokovic testing positive for the coronavirus. The world No. 1’s father has accused Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov of causing the spike in COVID-19 cases that has seen both Novak and his wife, Jelena, infected. Dimitrov was the first player to test positive for COVID-19 after the second leg of Djokovic’s exhibition tournament that began in Serbia before moving on to Croatia. Read more here.
- Novak Djokovic, the No. 1 tennis player in the world, tested positive for coronavirus shortly after organizing and participating in an “exhibition” in Croatia. Djokovic announced his wife had tested positive as well, explaining “the moment we arrived in Belgrade we went to be tested. My result is to positive.” Read more here.
- Serena Williams has confirmed she will play in the U.S. Open, which will take place without fans in attendance. “I really cannot wait to return in New York and play the U.S. Open 2020,” Williams said. The Open runs from Aug. 31 through Sept. 13 and will be the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis play was suspended in March. Read more here.
- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo officially gave the go-ahead for the U.S. Open to begin as scheduled, which would make it the first sporting event to be held in New York since the COVID-19 pandemic began. With the schedule tentatively set, the big question remaining is will the big names in tennis show up for the tournament? Read more here.
- Nick Kyrgios has criticized the plan, calling the idea of not delaying the tournament “selfish” in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.
- One of the biggest tennis tournaments in the United States is set to begin at the end of the summer, and the USTA reportedly is moving ahead with its plans to play the US Open beginning on Aug. 31, according to ESPN’s Peter Bodo. The ATP and WTA have “embraced” the plan, Bodo adds citing sources, and it appears the USTA will make an announcement regarding the US Open once they get the green light from health officials in New York. Read more here.
- Novak Djokovic expressed concerns about participating in the U.S. Open in August due to the extreme restrictions that are expected to be put in place due to the coronavirus. Djokovic noted that players would be able to bring only a single person to the club, which he was skeptical about. Read more here.
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Pro wrestling news over the past few weeks:
- While professional sports commissioners and team owners frequently comment on financial losses amid the coronavirus pandemic, World Wrestling Entertainment enjoyed a fruitful second quarter of the economic year. Per Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, WWE claimed during a Thursday earnings report that the promotion generated $43.8 million in profits for Q2. Read more here.
- WWE legend Ric Flair has informed the New York Post that Wendy Barlow, his wife, has tested positive for the coronavirus. “My wife does [have the virus]… we live in a 5,000-square-foot home,” Flair reportedly said. “I live in the basement. She lives upstairs on the third floor and she got sick.” Flair is considered high risk for the coronavirus because of his age and his medical history. Read more here.
- PWInsider’s Mike Johnson reported that WWE relocated SummerSlam and the accompanying editions of “Raw” and “SmackDown” to its Performance Center because of the uncontrolled virus outbreak. The pay-per-view card will occur at the Florida site on Aug. 23. According to the Wrestling Observer, an NXT Takeover show is scheduled to air on the WWE Network on Aug. 22. Read more here.
- Former WWE wrestler Kane now goes by another name: Mayor Glenn Jacobs, who is mayor of Knox County, Tennessee. The county’s board of health voted on an ordinance to make wearing masks mandatory for anyone who is inside certain buildings. The ordinance passed 7-1, with the lone “no” vote cast by Jacobs, according to Jack Baer of Yahoo Sports. Kane, of course, was known for wearing a mask during his WWE tenure. Interestingly, Jacobs does not believe in wearing masks during a pandemic. Read more here.
- John Pollock of Post Wrestling confirmed that WWE postponed taping for Monday’s “Raw” from Friday to Saturday, while the June 26 edition of “SmackDown” was still being produced live-to-tape as originally intended. As noted by Post Wrestling, on-air talents Renee Young and Kayla Braxton, along with Adam Pearce and Jamie Noble, all recently tested positive for the coronavirus. Read more here.
- At least three people within WWE have tested positive for COVID-19, including in-ring talent, according to Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer adds that WWE has known about the test results for about a week. On the AEW side, President and CEO Tony Khan tweeted that world champion Jon Moxley (known as Dean Ambrose in WWE) was off Wednesday’s “Dynamite” show after he was exposed to somebody with COVID-19. Read more here.
- Professional wrestling and mixed martial arts journalist Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer reported that WWE postponed its taping schedule for Tuesday after a developmental performer tested positive for the coronavirus. Previously, the Observer noted that WWE executive Paul Levesque, known as “Triple H,” declined to directly answer if the promotion repeatedly tested performers and other personnel for the coronavirus. Read more here.
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- UFC boss Dana White announced during a Tuesday morning CNN appearance that the unbeaten Khabib Nurmagomedov will battle Justin Gaethje on Oct. 24. White didn’t disclose a venue or location for the main-event bout. Read more here.
- When Jorge Masvidal faces welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in the headliner of Saturday’s UFC 251 show held at the Fight Island location on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, the challenger will be without a longtime coach. As Danny Segura of MMA Junkie wrote, Brazilian outlet Combate reported on Tuesday that Mike Brown won’t be in Masvidal’s corner on Saturday after the American Top Team coach and former WEC world champion tested positive for the coronavirus. Read more here.
- While speaking with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Gilbert Burns confirmed that a positive coronavirus diagnosis forced him out of Saturday’s UFC 251 main event versus welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. Burns explained that he flew from Florida to Las Vegas last Thursday, where he returned a positive result. Read more here.
- Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father, Abdulmanap, died from coronavirus complications, according to Russian outlet RT.com. He was 57. Abdulmanap died from brain injuries caused by a stroke after fighting the virus, RT.com says. Read more here.
- Dana White confirmed UFC’s first bout on Fight Island — Yas Island in Abu Dhabi — will take place on July 11. UFC 251 will be Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns, Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway, Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo. Read more here.
- While speaking with TMZ ahead of Saturday’s UFC 250 card headlined by featherweight champion Amanda Nunes defending her belt against Felicia Spencer, UFC boss Dana White explained Fight Island will be open for business on July 11. There will be an octagon outside on a beach, and the island features an arena and areas where fighters can train while maintaining social-distancing practices during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to White. Read more here.
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What’s new in boxing:
- Boxing legend Roberto Durán has tested positive for the coronavirus after going to a hospital in Panama on Thursday with cold-like symptoms, he announced on Instagram. Read more here.
- The junior welterweight boxing match on Top Rank on ESPN between Jose Pedraza and Mikkel LesPierre has been canceled after Josie Taveras, LesPierre’s manager, tested positive for COVID-19. In light of the cancellation, the junior lightweight fight between Gabe Flores Jr. and Josec Ruiz is now the main event. Read more here.
- SI’s Chris Mannix reported the third installment of Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin will be postponed. The fight was originally scheduled for Sept. 12 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, but the promoters did not want the bout to go on unless fans can attend. Canelo won the first fight, but the second bout came to a draw. Read more here.
- The Associated Press reported Top Rank Boxing got the green light to return to Las Vegas, with the organization intending to hold multiple events on June 9 and 11 at the MGM Grand. Read more here.
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The latest from the IOC:
- The Kyodo news agency released a poll last week that showed just how little support the Olympics currently have in Japan, with only 23.9% of Japanese citizens polled supporting the Olympics being in Tokyo next summer. Meanwhile, 36.4% said they believed the Olympics need to be delayed again, and 34% said they would support the event being canceled altogether. Read more here.
- Team USA basketball coach Gregg Popovich had some encouraging words about the Olympics taking place next summer. Per the Associated Press’ Tim Reynolds, Pop cited Japan’s successful response to the pandemic for why he’s optimistic the Olympics can take place in Tokyo in 2021. Read more here.
- The International Olympic Committee says it will provide added support services to athletes worldwide through Athlete365, as an added layer to help them with the challenges that have arisen amid the coronavirus pandemic and the postponement of this year’s games.
- IOC president Thomas Bach said, “You cannot have the athletes being in uncertainty,” according to the BBC.
- Tokyo Games president Yoshiro Mori said these Olympics would be canceled entirely if they can’t take place on the new date. Read more here.
- The 2020 Summer Games were set to take place in Tokyo July 24 through Aug. 9 but now are tentatively scheduled for July 23 through Aug. 8, 2021. The sad truth is that no one knows what the world will look like a year from now and whether the games can take place then either. Read more here.
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MLS and NWSL most recent developments:
- Despite fears about rising coronavirus cases throughout the United States, Major League Soccer side Atlanta United reportedly intends to open Mercedes-Benz Stadium to fans at a reduced capacity for games later this year. Read more here.
- Months after the worsening coronavirus pandemic forced Major League Soccer to suspend the 2020 season after two matchdays, league commissioner Don Garber confirmed three expansion clubs will have debuts postponed at least a year. In an official statement, MLS said that Charlotte, Sacramento Republic FC and St. Louis have all been pushed back one year. Charlotte will debut in 2022, while Sacramento and St. Louis will begin MLS tenures in 2023. Read more here.
- Atlanta United head coach Frank de Boer has hit out at the 9 a.m. ET kickoffs for the Major League Soccer “MLS is Back” tournament held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic. “We have to really think if it is good when we play in these certain times with this heat,” he said. Read more here.
- One Sporting Kansas City player tested positive for the coronavirus at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex bubble site being used for the MLS is Back tournament, according to numerous reports. Read more here.
- MLS confirmed that Wednesday’s Nashville SC versus Chicago Fire match is postponed due to five Nashville players testing positive for the virus at the bubble site. The MLS statement added that two players learned of their positive results over the July 4 weekend. Three others received positive results on Monday evening. Four players require additional testing due to inconclusive results. Read more here.
- As expected, LAFC star forward and reigning MLS MVP Carlos Vela won’t take part in the MLS is Back tournament scheduled to begin on Wednesday amid the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, ESPN’s Herculez Gomez and Jeff Carlisle hinted that the 31-year-old would opt out of the competition held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex because his wife is pregnant. Read more here.
- The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio and Sam Stejskal reported that FC Dallas will not play in the tournament either. ESPN’s Stefano Fusaro verified that story during an on-air segment. Last week, FC Dallas confirmed that six players tested positive for the coronavirus upon the club’s arrival to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex bubble site. Those players quarantined at the team’s hotel away from others. Read more here.
- The FC Dallas vs. Vancouver Whitecaps match in MLS is Back tournament has been postponed. The date has yet to be revealed. Dallas has been quarantined since the team arrived in Orlando on June 27, preventing players from training. Vancouver was scheduled to arrive on Wednesday, but was delayed because of two inconclusive coronavirus tests. The tests have since been confirmed negative, and the team will travel to Orlando on Monday. Read more here.
- MLS side FC Dallas has suffered a COVID-19 among its players. 3rd Degree initially reported the side has six confirmed positive test results upon the team’s arrival to its hotel. MLS confirmed the news, via The Athletic’s Sam Stejskal and Paul Tenorio. However, Tenorio notes there have been no other positive tests among teams in the bubble. Read more here.
- Louisville City FC of the second-tier USL Championship will be able to allow fans when the team’s season kicks off on July 12. As ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle wrote on Tuesday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has approved that venue to operate at 50 percent of the 15,304-seat capacity when Louisville City face the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Read more here.
- The Orlando Pride announced that the team has withdrawn from the competition due to multiple positive COVID-19 tests among players and coaches. Those who tested positive as well as exposed individuals will quarantine for 14 days. Read more here.
- Atlanta United is the latest MLS team to announce a positive coronavirus test. Atlanta confirmed a first-team player tested positive, and the club plans to conduct widespread testing on Friday while continuing league-approved workout protocols. Read more here.
- We now have a better idea of MLS’s tournament schedule. Inter Miami CF vs. Orlando City is among the July 8 tournament fixtures. Kickoff time and the TV broadcasts of the match aren’t known. Read more here.
- MLS, in conjunction with Walt Disney World, announced Wednesday that the “MLS Is Back Tournament” will take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex from July 8 to Aug. 11. The tournament will have all 26 clubs competing in a continuous schedule of 54 total matches that will be played nearly every day. These matches will count toward the 2020 MLS regular-season standings, and the tournament winner will earn a spot in the 2021 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League. Read more here.
- MLS commissioner Don Garber said he’s hopeful teams will be able to host some fans in their home stadiums later in the year after the tournament ends. Several states have started allowing small gatherings, as local governments continue loosening guidelines. Read more here.
- MLS and the MLS Players Association agreed to terms for an amended collective bargaining agreement that will likely include a July return to action. All 26 clubs could report to the Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World by June 24, and there will be a tournament held in Orlando. Read more here.
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Most recent news from international soccer circles:
- The 2020-21 EPL season will begin on Sept. 12, the league announced. The current season will end on July 26, and teams who aren’t competing in European competition will have nearly two months to prepare for the campaign. Read more here.
- Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp is doubling down on asking fans to celebrate the club’s championship at home. He said, “We should all celebrate together at home. … I don’t know when, when this bulls—t virus is gone, then we will have a party all together,” via Football Daily. Read more here.
- On the same day that Liverpool players learned that family members likely will be welcomed to Anfield for Wednesday’s English Premier League trophy presentation after the Reds face Chelsea, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp pleaded for supporters to remain away from the stadium when his club officially celebrates its first top-flight title in 30 years. Read more here.
- According to ESPN, the Ballon d’Or has been canceled for the first time in the award’s history due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the soccer calendar. Group L’Equipe, the organizers of the award, announced that the conditions for the prize to be awarded had not taken place due to the pandemic. Read more here.
- The International Football Association Board will allow leagues to expand the rule permitting clubs five substitutions per game instead of the standard three replacements through the end of upcoming 2020-21 campaigns. Read more here.
- According to ESPN, soccer in the Netherlands will resume on Sept. 15 with 15 percent to 35 percent of stadiums available for spectators. No away supporters will be allowed, however. Spectators will need to remain about five feet apart, bring masks and buy drinks from roaming sellers rather than waiting in line at kiosks. Read more here.
- The English government has warned the Premier League about not following social distancing protocols, according to Sam Wallace of The Telegraph. The government is warning the top flight about footballers and coaches failing to maintain social distancing rules following goals or during each per-half hydration break. Read more here.
- The English Premier League announced that it recorded zero positive COVID-19 results in the competition’s latest round of testing. Per Sky Sports and other outlets, England’s top flight tested 1,973 players and club staff members between June 29 and July 5. Sky added that individual clubs are also testing footballers amid training sessions. Read more here.
- Wigan became the first professional English side to enter into administration amid the coronavirus pandemic. Lack of funding from the side’s new owners as well a financial burden placed on clubs since the pandemic started played a part, per BBC, which notes that other clubs might be in the same position soon. Read more here.
- Rising coronavirus cases sent Leicester back into lockdown and put the Premier League fixture between Leicester City and Crystal Palace, scheduled to occur at the King Power Stadium on July 4, in doubt, per Sky News. However, Leicester announced they’ve been given the green light to host Palace and other opponents as the English top-flight completes the 2019-20 season this summer. Read more here.
- As expected, supporters will not be welcomed to stadiums in Portugal when the 2019-20 Champions League quarterfinals begin via a single-game elimination format on Aug. 12. Read more here.
- Paris Saint-Germain hit their first obstacle upon a return to training when the club announced that three players and one staff member “showed historic positive” test results for the coronavirus. Read more here.
- The Athletic’s David Ornstein reported that an Arsenal player tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of last week’s clash with City. The unnamed player and two other footballers exposed to that individual missed three training sessions due to self-isolation guidelines enforced whenever somebody associated with a club tests positive for COVID-19. Once antigen and antibody tests for the person in question came back negative, all three men were welcomed back to training. They traveled to Manchester for the City game. Read more here.
- As expected, UEFA confirmed that the 2019-20 Champions League competition will finish in Lisbon, Portugal in August under unique circumstances. ESPN’s Mark Ogden and Goal.com noted that the remaining round-of-16 fixtures could occur either at the grounds of home clubs or be relocated to Portugal for Aug. 7-8. From there, the rest of the tournament will move to a single-elimination format with fixtures played at Benfica’s Estadio da Luz and Sporting’s Estadio Jose Alvalade. Quarterfinal contests begin Aug. 12, with the Final set for Aug. 23 at the Estadio da Luz. Read more here.
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WNBA’s latest developments:
- The WNBA has denied Elena Delle Donne’s request to opt out of the upcoming season for medical reasons, forcing her to decide if she will play or skip the season and not receive her salary. Delle Donne requested to skip the season because she has Lyme disease, which her personal physician told her puts her at risk of contracting COVID-19. However, Lyme disease is not listed by the CDC as an underlying condition that increases your odds of catching the coronavirus, and an independent panel determined she was not at-risk more than anyone else. Read more here.
- The WNBA unveiled its 2020 schedule and announced that the Seattle Storm, led by 2018 MVP Breanna Stewart, will battle first overall draft selection Sabrina Ionescu and the New York Liberty on July 25 to begin the season. The Phoenix Mercury face the Los Angeles Sparks, and the Washington Mystics begin their title defense versus the Indiana Fever later that same day. Read more here.
- The WNBA will resume play next month in Florida with a 22-game season and a full playoff schedule at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., the league announced Monday. Players who opt into the 2020 season will receive their full salaries, assuming the league is able to complete both the regular and postseason. Read more here.
- The WNBA announced it would be postponing training camp and the 2020 season, which was supposed to begin on May 15. The WNBA draft occurred on schedule on April 17, and Sabrina Ionescu was selected with the No. 1 overall pick by the New York Liberty. The WNBA paid tribute to Gianna Bryant, Payton Chester and Alyssa Altobelli, naming them honorary draft picks.
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What has happened in international baseball:
- During a recent game against the Rakuten Eagles, the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks employed 20 dancing robots to liven things up. The two kinds of robots, SoftBank’s humanoid robot ‘Pepper’ and others on four legs, engaged in a choreographed dance to the team’s fight song. Read more here.
- The Mexican Baseball League has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 season, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN). The league’s clubs earn the majority of their revenues from gate sales and in-person purchases. Sporting events throughout Mexico currently can only occur behind closed doors and without spectators. The season was scheduled to start Aug. 7. Read more here.
- Jeeho Yoo of Yonhap News reports that KBO fans could be in the seats within days. The plan is to open at approximately 30 percent capacity, with careful precautions in place to limit the potential for coronavirus transmission. Read more here.
- While the U.S. is experiencing a massive uptick in COVID-19 cases, the same can’t be said for South Korea. As such, the Korea Baseball Organization is preparing guidelines to gradually admit fans back into parks, according to Jeeho Yoo of Yonhap News. There will be social distancing rules and other safety rules in place. Read more here.
- Jason Coskrey of the Japan Times revealed two players on the Yomiuri Giants have tested positive for COVID-19. Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball resumed exhibition play this week as it prepares for its new June 19 start date. Read more here.
- Although Japanese fans can’t attend games, the league has found a way to help them connect with their teams. Jack Tarrant of Reuters reported Nippon is developing an app called the Remote Cheerer, which will let fans root for their teams. Tarrant explains fans’ reactions will “reverberate around the stadium in real time, transmitted by giant loudspeakers.” It’s a creative approach that will also let players know their fans are thinking of them. Read more here.
- Another overseas league will start soon, as Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan has set June 19 as its Opening Day. The league was supposed to start in March. Read more here.
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esports carries on:
- Esports’ popularity has experienced an uptick on both sides of the remote, as CNBC’s Bob Woods reported on May 19 that streaming website Twitch experienced a “23% surge in viewership in March,” coinciding with the time frame when much of the country started to stay home.
- While the pandemic is having a negative effect on the sports world, it’s been business as usual for esports and gaming. Participants can easily play while maintaining social distancing guidelines since gaming takes place online. In fact, esports has been flourishing. Texas A&M head esports coach Travis Yang told KSAT.com that there has been a “noticeable increase” in gamers and tournaments as people were forced to stay at home.
Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
Most recent developments among other sports:
- The Indy 500 is reducing fan attendance from 50% down to 25% due to the coronavirus and will require all attending fans to wear masks to the race. These changes were announced by an Indy 500 fan guidelines released from Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Read more here.
- The 2020 Mexico City Marathon announced that the race scheduled for Aug. 30 is canceled. According to Mexico News Daily, the event drew roughly 30,000 runners last year. Read more here.
- The Indianapolis 500, set for Aug. 23, became the latest American sporting event to welcome fans amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles confirmed the news, stating, “We will be limiting attendance to approximately 50 percent of venue capacity.” Per Shanna McCarriston of CBS Sports, Indianapolis Motor Speedway carries a capacity of around 235,000. The official announcement also explained that individuals who do not wish to attend, such as those considered high-risk, will receive credits. Safety items such as masks and hand sanitizer will be distributed to all race attendees. Read more here.
- The world’s largest marathon in New York City has officially been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Jackie Salo of the New York Post. The five-borough race, which hosts more than 50,000 runners from across the globe, would’ve celebrated its 50th anniversary on Nov. 1. It is now set to take place on Nov. 7, 2021. Read more here.
- The Haspa Marathon Hamburg, which was postponed from April, is set to occur on Sept. 13. The race is expecting 10,000 to 14,000 runners. However, Americans might not be among thm. Action Network’s Darren Rovell reported that runners from “higher-risk COVID areas” will not be allowed to participate. A higher-risk area could include the United States. Read more here.
- Approximately 20,000 rugby fans in New Zealand packed the stands to watch the Otago Highlanders take on the Waikato Chiefs in the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition. New Zealand lifted nearly all of its coronavirus restrictions earlier in the week, as no new cases have been reported for more than 20 days and the death toll is at just 22 in the country since the pandemic started. Read more here.
- The Boston Marathon, originally scheduled for April 20 but postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic, was canceled and converted into a virtual experience. It’s the first time in 124 years the Marathon won’t run. Read more here.