How is the coronavirus affecting your favorite sport and when might we see games again?

Staten Island Advance

Now What?

The sports world has been put on hold for a full week now because of the coronavirus, and though the prognosis isn’t much clearer now than it was seven days ago, let’s investigate some of the potential scenarios that may ensue when sports do inevitably return to us.

Though every major sport is on pause, it isn’t just games that are being affected — player contract incentives, service time, compensation, and drafts all hang in the balance.

Check out these slides explaining some of the possible outcomes and announcements from each of the four major American sports, as well as the NCAA.

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NBA

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was at the forefront of the movement to shut the sports world down when he announced that the league would be suspending its season after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus on Mar. 11.

The Jazz were just minutes away from tipping off a contest against the Oklahoma City Thunder — a game Gobert was listed as doubtful for due to “illness”.

Once the positive test was revealed, Silver quickly put a stop to the contest, sending a packed crowd of confused fans home.

That was the first domino to fall in the sports world, as every other major sport would pause its seasons within 48 hours of the NBA’s announcement to do so.

At the time, Silver said the league would reevaluate in 30 days — but players such as Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell, and Marcus Smart have since tested positive for the virus, leaving the league’s future in doubt this year.

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NBA Outlook

It’s possible the league could cancel the season entirely, though there is hope for a shortened campaign, or augmented playoff schedule.

Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie suggested a 24-team tournament, which the NBA Player’s Association was allegedly interested in.

The playoffs normally conclude in late June, though ESPN reports that teams were warned the season could run through August.

If that were the case, the 2020 Olympics in Japan, which are scheduled for July, would likely not include NBA players — if they take place at all.

As it stands, the Nets own the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference with 18 games remaining on their 82-game schedule, while the New York Knicks playoff hopes could be on hold for multiple years, though that is not due to the coronavirus.

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March Sadness

The NCAA initially announced the NCAA Tournament would take place without fans, though that assertion didn’t even make it through the week.

While multiple conferences scurried to cancel conference tourneys, the NCAA waited until halftime of a March 12 Big East Tournament game at Madison Square Garden between St. John’s and Creighton to officially cancel its remaining schedule.

The Red Storm went to the locker room with the lead, and never returned.

Unfortunately, there is no scenario in which this season can be completed, and recent reports speculate that senior athletes will not be granted an additional year of eligibility.

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NHL

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman quickly followed Adam Silver’s footsteps — citing the two league’s shared use of multiple arenas around the country.

“It is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time,” said Bettman last week. “We will continue to monitor all the appropriate medical advice…our goal is to resume play as soon as it is prudent.”

When that may be, we don’t yet know.

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Local State of Hockey

Most teams have played about 70 of the season’s 82 games — and the New York Islanders sit just one point out of the Eastern Conference Wild Card picture, and the Rangers are just one point behind them — though the Isles have two games in hand.

With the playoffs scheduled for April 8, the league calendar is up in the air.

Is it possible we luck out and eventually see the NHL and NBA this summer? We can only hope at this point.

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MLB

While baseball’s regular season wasn’t officially underway when Spring Training was cancelled on March 12 — the original March 26 date for Opening Day certainly won’t be taking place.

Two Yankees Minor Leaguers already tested positive for the virus, and though MLB hoped to kick off its season on April 9, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman called that a “pipe dream”.

Aside from a start date, MLB officials need to contemplate a number of issues, including roster expansion to compensate for the lack of Spring Training time, though the league has navigated through strike-shortened seasons in the past.

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MLB Outlook

MLB also had proposed a 14-team playoff for the 2021 season, but Sherman speculates that the league may try to expedite that for the 2020 campaign, if it were to resume.

However, there’s no definitive timetable for any action at the moment.

“There’s no map of where this is going,” said Sherman.

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NFL

Luckily for football fans, the season is still six months away, affording plenty of time for the league to prepare.

In fact, the league year kicked off with free agency this week, allowing us a brief grace period to get non-coronavirus sports notifications for a few days.

However, there have already been complications in free agency, as pending deals are at risk due to doctors inability to evaluate players during the coronavirus scare.

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NFL Outlook

It has already been announced that the NFL Draft, scheduled to begin on April 23, will take place — though fans will not be permitted to attend.

The league has also prohibited pre-draft visits as well as scouting combines.

In addition, the annual league meeting was also canceled and offseason workouts have been postponed “indefinitely”.

On the bright side, the regular season start date, Sept. 5, doesn’t appear to be in imminent danger.

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