How CDC's Latest Recommendation Could Impact the Sports World

John Healy
March 15, 2020 - 8:03 pm
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The return of sports in the country may be longer than many initially thought.

On Sunday evening, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that gatherings of 50-plus people or more be postponed or suspended for the next eight weeks.

Relative to the sports world, that means that leagues that have suspended or delayed its seasons would be unable to return until mid-May at the earliest.

It also means that the Kentucky Derby, scheduled for May 2, could potentially be cancelled for the first time in its 145-year history. It has been postponed only once — in 1945 — and that could certainly be the other option.

Per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the NBA is looking at a potential mid-to-late June return with no fans, with the season ending with the NBA Finals in some time in August.

The NFL is currently not in season, but if gatherings of 50 people or more are banned for eight weeks, that would likely mean the NFL Draft in Las Vegas, scheduled for April 23-25, will either be postponed and/or done by another means, such as a conference call.

The CDC's recommendation also means that NFL offseason training programs and rookie minicamp would be affected.

Major League Baseball, which had its first player — a Yankees minor leaguer — test positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, currently has delayed the start of the season two weeks and was eyeing an early May start, but these new recommendations could push that back even further, considering players will likely need to ramp up an expedited spring training before starting the regular season. A post-Memorial Day Opening Day is not out of the realm of possibility.

Meanwhile, the NHL expressed optimism in returning to action at some point when it announced it was putting the season on hold last week, but may find themselves in a similar situation as the NBA.

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