Sports Response

A mural just inside the front concourse at State Mutual Stadium is seen from behind the bars of the entrance gates on Saturday.

From the rec league to big leagues, every type of athletic activity has been affected by the move to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.

There have been several postponements and announcements in recent days that have bombarded athletes, coaches, parents and fans with a wave of information.

Here is an overview of how local, state and national organizations have decided to respond to the issue:

PREP SPORTS

All area high school sports will be suspended at least through March 27.

The Georgia High School Association recommended Thursday that school systems suspend all athletic activities for two weeks. Floyd County Schools was the first local system to respond, stating that its high school and middle school sports would be put on hold through March 27.

Rome City Schools has closed its schools through April 6, meaning all school-sponsored athletics will follow suit.

Darlington School is closed for the next two weeks, suspending its athletics for that time as well.

Polk School District, Chattooga County Schools, Calhoun City Schools and Gordon County Schools are all following the same timeline.

The Northwest Georgia Tip-Off Club’s annual Senior All-Star basketball games, which were supposed to be held this past Thursday at Georgia Highlands College, were canceled.

LOCAL COLLEGES

Berry College, Georgia Highlands College and Shorter University all have had their spring sports suspended.

Berry is a member of the Southern Athletic Association, which announced Friday it was suspending all conference competitions, leaving individual member schools to determine if they want to schedule contests that would not count toward conference records or championships.

Berry decided to halt all athletic activities during the closing of the campus, which is scheduled through at least April 3. Administrators will re-evaluate the situation at that time.

Georgia Highlands plays as part of the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association. It is following the model of the National Junior College Athletic Association and suspending all spring sports through April 3.

The Gulf South Conference, which includes Shorter, has suspended all spring sports indefinitely.

RECREATION

All Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation sponsored outdoor sports are suspended until March 26, while indoor activities, such as gymnastics, are canceled until further notice.

The Rome YMCA Arsenal Soccer Club has suspended all practices and games for all levels through April 30 in line with Georgia Soccer. The YMCA itself is closed until March 30.

TENNIS

The International Tennis Federation canceled the Georgia Open Wheelchair Championships on Thursday, cutting short the tournament at the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College before a second round could begin.

Ann Hortman, director of the Rome Sports Commission, said she remains optimistic that the 2020 ACC Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships will still be held April 15-19, but the conference’s suspension of all spring sports on Thursday has put the events in jeopardy.

The USTA Georgia Bowl youth tennis tournament scheduled for March 21-23 has been canceled.

ROME BRAVES

Minor League Baseball made the decision Thursday to delay the start of the 2020 season, which was to be April 9.

Minor League Baseball President and CEO Pat O’Connor stated in a letter that “once the public health experts and agencies have decided it is safe to begin the 2020 season, and the players are physically ready to begin the season, we will do so.”

This followed Major League Baseball’s decision to delay the March 26 start of its season by at least two weeks and suspend the rest of its spring training schedule. Commissioner Rob Manfred left open whether teams would still play 162-game schedules.

BASKETBALL

The Harlem Globetrotters announced that they would suspend all of their planned games on their tour from March 13-19, which includes Monday’s date at Darlington School’s Huffman Center.

The NBA suspended all games. The NCAA canceled the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournament. The announcement came after the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences canceled the remainder of their tournaments.

SOCCER

Major League Soccer shut down until at least April 12. Its season started Feb. 29 and each team has played two matches. The U.S. Soccer Federation canceled exhibitions in March and April for its men’s and women’s national teams. The regional group CONCACAF suspended Champions League competition.

AUTO RACING

NASCAR canceled Sunday’s Atlanta 500 and the Miami 400 on March 22. IndyCar canceled all races through April 19. Formula One canceled Sunday’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix and postponed the Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir on March 22 and the Vietnam Grand Prix in Hanoi on April 5.

GOLF

After canceling the final three rounds of The Players Championship on Thursday evening, the US PGA canceled the next three tour events through April 5. Augusta National announced Friday it was postponing the Masters.

NFL

The NFL called off its main owners meeting, set for this month in Palm Beach, Florida. NFL teams are curtailing or halting scouting operations as a safeguard.

ATHLETICS

The Boston Marathon on April 20 is postponed to Sept. 14, while the London Marathon on April 26 is postponed to Oct. 4.

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