Sports: Latest on when the leagues will return

NFL, season
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Pretty much all professional and collegiate sports are on hiatus with the ongoing COVID-19 plaguing North America and the rest of the world.

The NBA started this trend when it suspended the 2019-20 campaign after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus on March 11. The NHL and MLB have since followed suit with the NCAA canceling both its men’s and women’s college basketball tournaments.

When might sports start up again? It all really depends on how the world flattens the COVID-19 curve with social distancing, stay-at-home orders and lockdowns.

But we’re hearing more from the leagues. Here’s the latest.

MLB: A report surfaced late Monday night that Major League Baseball is currently looking into a plan to start its season in May. Under said plan, all games would take place in Arizona without fans in attendance. This seems to be an optimistic plan given where the United States is as it relates to COVID-19. But it certainly does give fans some hope.

NBA: Much like all other sports, the NBA returning to action depends more on COVID-19 than anything else. Despite this, there’s been talk that the season could resume in Las Vegas without fans. The NBA and players’ union is also working on a plan for rapid COVID-19 testing, which would go a long way in the Association’s season continuing. Other insiders are pessimistic about a return to the court.

NHL: The last of the four major professional North American sports to cancel its season, the NHL has shown its hand by pushing back key off-season dates. Though, a new plan now includes the season restarting in North Dakota. Whether that’s even likely at this point remains to be seen.

NFL: The only major professional sports league in North America currently in its offseason, the NFL has been least impacted. The 2020 NFL Draft is slated to start later this month in an all-virtual format. Free agency is ongoing. As it relates to the 2020 season, the NFL is still planning a full 17-week schedule starting on time in September. It could happen without fans in attendance.

MMA: UFC head Dana White has been hellbent on continuing with matches. UFC 249 is still slated to go on April 18. White also just noted that he’s close to obtaining a private island to hold weekly UFC matches during the pandemic.

PGA: Golf is one sport that might be able to start sooner rather than later. Even if there are no fans in the gallery, the possibility of social distancing is better than other sports. A new proposed plan has the PGA Championship being held in early August, the US Open taking place in September and The Masters starting on Nov. 12. It would make for one heck of a schedule.

Bottom line

These are simply just plans right now. It’s going to be all about how the United States and rest of North America combat COVID-19 in the coming weeks. Stateside, we’re said to be at the peak.

Once the curve flattens and testing becomes more widespread, a real call to action as it relates to sports can be the name of the game.

Based on what the leagues are saying, it looks like baseball will be the first sport to return. Already pretty much at the end of their regular season once the pandemic hit, it seems to be more up in the air for the NBA and NHL.