VHSL Basketball Tournament Cancelled; College Tournaments, NHL and MLB Add To List

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Update 4:20 pm 3/13/2020:
– The Augusta National Golf Club had announced the 2020 Masters Tournament, the most prestigious event in pro golf, is postponed over the COVID-19 outbreak. Scheduled to begin on April 9 at Augusta, officials are hoping to play the event at a later time, but it was unclear when that may be.
– NASCAR and IndyCar have each called off their races this weekend. NASCAR was scheduled to race Sunday at Atlanta, without spectators allowed, but changed to call of this weekend’s and next weekend’s race at Homestead-Miami. The opening of the IndyCar season has also been delayed.
Update 6:45 am 3/13/2020:
In a release direct to Star Sports Director Bill Turner, former credentialed NHL media member and photographer for the Detroit Red Wings 1998 Stanley Cup Champions, regarding the 2019-20 NHL season from Commissioner Gary Bettman: “The National Hockey League is announcing today that it will pause the 2019-20 season beginning with tonight’s games. Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup. Until then, we thank NHL fans for your patience and hope you stay healthy.”
Accordingly, the Southern Professional Hockey League suspended the 2019-20 se4ason effective immediately. The SPHL and its member teams will continue to monitor developments over the weekend and provide an update on the 2019-20 season in the near future. The Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs were scheduled to play a 2-game series Friday and Saturday in Birmingham before finishing the regular season with 7 home games at the Berglund Center from March 19 through April 4.
The PGA Tour first said no spectators, now there will be no players. The Tour cancelled the rest of the Players Championship after playing the first round on Thursday. After a pause, the next scheduled event is now the Masters in early April.
Update 4:15 pm 3/12/2020:
Reactions continued this afternoon in reaction to the COVID-19 crisis.
The NCAA announced shortly after 4 pm that March Madness was being cancelled for both the men’s and women’s competition. Duke University was most proactive, announcing earlier in the afternoon that it would not play in the NCAA college tournament even if it would take place without fans.
At 4 pm, in response to Minor League Baseball, the Salem Red Sox announced that the start of its season would be delayed indefinitely.
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Due to the rapidly changing landscape regarding COVID-19 and amidst the cancellations of major college basketball, the VHSL announced Thursday afternoon the cancellation of its state championship basketball games scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the VCU Siegel Center in Richmond.
“After continuing to assess the impact of COVID-19 and the recent cancellations throughout the sports world, we felt it was in the public interest to cancel our championship finals for Friday and Saturday,” VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun said in a release issued at 1:16 pm.
“While we understand how disappointing this is for all fans of our teams, we feel this decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of, most importantly, out student-athletes, coaches, administrators, families and fans.”
Both “Big-11” teams that were scheduled to play Friday evening, the Cave Spring Knights in the Class 3 boys final against Lakeland and the Lord Botetourt girls in the Class 3 final against Spotswood, were declared co-champions.
The announcement followed a whirlwind 24 hours that saw the ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12,PAC-12, American, MAC, Atlantic-10, Colonial, Conference USA and WAC all deciding to end tournaments Thursday morning before games began in their respective arenas.
The Big East tournament quarterfinal between Creighton and St. Johns started at noon, but the league then cancelled the entire event at halftime.
The National Hockey League followed the NBA and suspended its 2019-20 season until further notice, and Major League Baseball likewise suspended all operations and will likely delay the start of the 2020 season.
Bill Turner