Follow Along: Local Sports Cancellations Over COVID-19
The coronavirus outbreak continues to have a ripple effect on sporting organizations on the national and local scales with constant cancellations or postponements.
Here's an updated list of the local sports that have been canceled:
UTEP athletics springs sports
Following the cancellation of the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournament, all spring sports competition for Conference USA athletics is suspended until further notice, league officials announced Thursday.
The UTEP women's basketball team was slated to play Old Dominion on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament. Instead, their season came to an abrupt ending.
UTEP athletics events set for this weekend are impacted by this, including the softball team facing UAB and the tennis team hosting Chicago State. These events will not take place as scheduled.
All UTEP teams that left the city to compete out of town are scheduled to return to El Paso.
"This decision was made with the safety of our fans, student-athletes, coaches and staff as the utmost priority," said UTEP Director of Athletics Jim Senter. "We will monitor the situation in the coming weeks in consultation with Conference USA Leadership, the University Administration and each respective varsity sport team and make modifications as needed."
Per the NCAA Council Coordination Committee, the NCAA will grant relief for the use of a season of competition for student-athletes who have participated in spring sports with another year of eligibility. They will also discuss issues for winter sport student-athletes.
MiLB & El Paso Chihuahuas
The Minor League Baseball season joined in delaying the start of the season because of the coronavirus. The Chihuahuas were set to start their season on April 9th.
MiLB issued this statement on Wednesday:
“In light of the current coronavirus outbreak, and after consultation with medical professionals and our partners at Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball will delay the start of the 2020 Championship Season. We will continue to monitor the developments and will announce additional information about the 2020 season at a later date. We will work with Major League Baseball and our community partners to resume play as soon as it is safe to do so. The health and safety of Minor League Baseball fans, players and executives is our top priority, and our thoughts are with those around the world who have been affected by this outbreak.”
USL & Locomotive FC
As the Locomotive FC was set to embark on its 2020 home opener on Saturday, they received news from league officials that the season would be suspended for a minimum of 30 days due to the coronavirus outbreak.
They wrote in a statement:
"The health and safety of fans, players and staff is of the highest priority for the USL and El Paso Locomotive FC. The USL Championship today has made the decision to suspend matches for a minimum of 30 days – including the Locomotive FC Home Opener on March 14 and the match against LA Galaxy II on April 4 at Southwest University Park – as a precaution to the ongoing developments related to COVID-19. The intent is for El Paso Locomotive FC, along with the rest of the league, to resume play. Additional updates and guidance will be provided on the continuation of the 2020 USL Championship season."
New Mexico State & WAC Championship
The New Mexico State men's basketball team, who reeled off 19-straight wins, was headed for another NCAA Tournament berth but due to the coronavirus outbreak, they will be unable to finish their season.
In an announcement made Thursday morning by the Western Athletic Conference, the league also announced the suspension of all spring conference competitions until further notice.
"The announcement stems from the COVID-19 outbreak around the globe. This decision was made with the best interests of both student-athlete welfare and public welfare in mind," the WAC wrote in a release.
El Paso Rhinos Hockey playoffs
The Western States Hockey League has announced that all scheduled games for the remainder of the 2019-20 season have been canceled, which means the Rhinos’ home playoff games scheduled for March 13-15 and March 20-22 will not be played, nor will they be rescheduled.
Thorne Cup Final games in Greeley, CO that were scheduled for the end of March will also be canceled.
"It is of the utmost importance to the El Paso Rhinos organization to ensure the safety and health of players, staff, and spectators," the Rhinos organization wrote in a release. "The WSHL and the Rhinos will continue to provide updates regularly on the coronavirus situation."
EPCC baseball and softball
El Paso Community College announced its suspension of both baseball and softball seasons due to COVID-19.
"After much consideration about the safety of our student-athletes and campus community, El Paso Community College has decided that effective immediately the EPCC Tejanos and Tejanas athletic competitions are suspended due to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 risk," EPCC wrote in a release. "This will affect the remaining season games for EPCC men's baseball and women's softball scheduled this spring, including this weekend's games scheduled with Frank Phillips College."
UIL state basketball championships & NMAA state basketball championships
The Texas UIL state basketball playoffs were canceled on Wednesday while the NMAA (NM) basketball championships will be played in an empty arena.
UIL has a "goal" to complete all high school spring activities.