Optimism that professional and college sports teams could begin to train and either resume or start their seasons is growing dimmer.
A rash of new coronavirus cases is emerging among professional sports teams and college athletics programs. The new outbreaks cover Major League Baseball, college football, and the National Hockey League, and span several states.
More from Deadline
- NFL Network and NFL RedZone No Longer Available On Dish And Sling TV Amid Distribution Deal Impasse
- HBO 'Hard Knocks' To Feature Both Rams & Chargers In L.A-Centric Season
- President Donald Trump: Colin Kaepernick Should Get Another Shot At NFL "If He Deserves It"
While the NBA is forging ahead with plans to hold the remainder of its season and playoffs in Orlando, Florida and isolating teams, that state’s cases are on the rise, making it that much more difficult for the players and staff to avoid contacts as they attempt to train.
While the leagues are preparing to play without fans and with limited staff in attendance, they can’t completely control private lives. Thus, there is alarm at the growing number of cases emerging as the larger gatherings come together.
In the latest incidents, the Philadelphia Phillies closed their spring training facility in Clearwater, Fla. after reporting eight employees, including five players, had tested positive for COVID-19. The Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Florida also shuttered after new cases emerged, as did the San Francisco Giants, who train in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Reports indicate that MLB was thinking of closing all 30 camps for cleaning. The teams are in voluntary workouts while contentious negotiations continue on a partial season.
The NFL also faces a stern test. Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN this week that “if there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year.” He has since been criticized for the comments by President Donald Trump.
“Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall,” Fauci said.
The NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning said on Friday that “three players and additional staff members have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.” Also today, the NHL announced 11 players who entered team facilities for voluntary training have tested positive for coronavirus.
Meanwhile, college football faces its own problems. Houston football has cancelled voluntary workouts after six players tested positive, and Alabama, Auburn, Florida State and several other teams have reported cases among players.
Clemson is the latest college team facing a coronavirus issue.The school announced Friday that 28 student-athletes or staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 since returning to school on June 8. but did not specify which sport. According to The Athletic, 23 of those positive tests were football players.
Best of Deadline
- Coronavirus: Global Cases Pass 8 Million As Death Toll Nears 450,000; U.S. Deaths At 116,000 - Update
- Coronavirus: Movies That Have Halted Or Delayed Production Amid Outbreak
- Hong Kong Filmart Postponed Due To Coronavirus Fears; Event Moves Two Weeks Before Toronto