The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been the dominant story across the United States this week, and it has started to have a tangible impact on some sporting events.
Spectators will not be allowed to attend the NCAA men’s basketball Division 3 tournament games at Johns Hopkins, following a positive test for Coronavirus in Maryland.
Multiple Division 1 basketball teams canceled scheduled games at Seattle University this week, following a number of cases in that area.
Friday, the University of Washington announced that it would hold all classes online through the end of winter quarter on March 20.
The National College Players’ Association has called for the NCAA to cancel “all auxiliary events that put players in contact with crowds, such as meet and greets and press events” and have “serious discussion about holding competitions without an audience present.”
Closer to home, the Ohio Department of Health is limiting spectator access to the Arnold Sports Festival fitness event in Columbus this weekend.
To date, there have been no confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in Ohio. Friday morning, the first confirmed case was just reported in neighboring Indiana.
The Hoosier state will play host to the 2020 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Championship next week in Indianapolis.
The Big Ten is keeping a close eye on the situation, but Friday, a conference spokesman confirmed that the tournament is still on track to go on as scheduled.
“While there are currently no changes to the event, we are in consultation with the Marion County Public Health Department, our hosts and the venue in an effort to monitor the situation with the medical experts in the area,” said Adam Augustine, the Big Ten’s Assistant Commissioner for Communications.
The Ohio State spring football game is scheduled for Saturday, April 11. That, too, is still on track to be played as scheduled.
OSU previously issued travel restrictions for all university-sponsored travel to Italy, Iran, South Korea, and China, following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of State.
So far, however, that does not impact any events closer to home.
In an email Friday, Ohio State spokesman Benjamin Johnson referred back to a February 29 statement from the University: “We continue to take all precautions, but there is no need to change any routine campus activities or behaviors due to COVID-19.”
Johnson confirmed to The-Ozone that still applied to on-campus activities such as the Spring Game.
“We will continue to monitor closely and send updates as university, local and federal guidelines change,” Johnson wrote.
Friday afternoon, the NCAA’s COVID-19 Advisory Panel issued a statement, urging patience, and for people to practice “risk-mitigation at all events.”
However, they did not recommend canceling or making major modifications to scheduled events.
“At present the panel is not recommending cancellation or public spacing of athletic and related events scheduled to occur in public spaces across the United States,” the committee wrote.