The NCAA has canceled its spring championships and the SEC is suspending all athletics events until at least March 30 amid ramping concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
That affects Auburn baseball, softball, gymnastics, tennis, track, golf and more, whose athletes have all likely competed in their last event this season like players on the Auburn men’s basketball team.
The NCAA announced Thursday afternoon that it was canceling all winter season and spring season championship events.
Courts will be barren and ballparks will be empty in attempts to limit large gatherings through unprecedented measures while the United States grips with a pandemic.
The Auburn men’s basketball team was in Nashville, Tenn. on Thursday morning getting set to play in the SEC Tournament on Friday before the remainder of the tournament was abruptly canceled Thursday morning — and the NCAA Tournament events soon after.
“I just can’t minimize the disappointment of our young people because they’ve worked so hard to put themselves in position to compete for the championship — but they understand the big picture, as well,” Auburn men’s basketball head coach Bruce Pearl said on the SEC Network on Thursday morning, calling in to the broadcast as his team traveled back to Auburn from Nashville.
The Auburn football program has also postponed the start of spring football practice and suspended all football-related activities. The team was scheduled to open practice on March 16.
The NBA suspended all play Wednesday night in another stunning development. Utah Jazz players Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell announced they have tested positive for coronavirus. Overseas, pro soccer manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for the virus according to the Associated Press prompting him to be placed into self-isolation with some of his players and for their match this weekend to be called off.
Auburn legend Charles Barkley said on TNT that he has been feeling sick and has gone into self-quarantine while waiting on coronavirus testing to return.
As fears ramped, the sports world’s governing bodies reacted.
Major League Baseball has delayed its opening day by at least two weeks. The XFL outright canceled the rest of its 2020 season on Thursday.
Meanwhile, college athletes around the sports world lamenting what appears to be the end of their seasons on Thursday on social media.
“This hurts,” Auburn softball senior Alyssa Rivera posted to Twitter.
“Words cannot describe my disappointment, sadness,” Auburn swimming and diving head coach Gary Taylor posted. “Thank you to the seniors who gave their blood, sweat, tears for (Auburn).”