How the coronavirus impacted the landscape of sports across the world

An image of COVID-19, commonly known as Coronavirus, provided by the CDC.

Everyone living through this pandemic will remember it for the rest of their lives: COVID-19 is one of the worst things the world has seen in a long time.

For high school seniors, it takes away the moment for which they waited four years. They will never walk across the stage and hear their name called.

College graduates in the class of 2020 will almost certainly never be able to take pictures in their caps and gowns with friends. Instead, they will finish their academic career through virtual class and say goodbye to friends via Zoom or WebEx, among other platforms.

Throughout our lives, we, the current generation of college, have seen just how impactful sports can be. Sports provide an escape and an outlet to do what we love. However, they do not exist right now. We are still unsure about an NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Championship or when the 2020 Major League Baseball season will begin.

The WNBA Draft is still going to happen on April 17. But players will not be waiting in the green room to hear their name called. Instead, they will be watching the virtual draft from home just like everyone else.

The Utah Jazz’ Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, and it shocked the sports world. The ensuing events left athletes questioning their futures.


When NBA Commissioner Adam Silver canceled games for the foreseeable future, it put the sports world on notice.

When the NCAA canceled all sporting events, it woke up anyone questioning the severity of the coronavirus and its impact on society, including Associate Athletic Director Mike Holmes.

“When word started to come out on Wednesday afternoon that we might not play the Georgia State-Georgia Southern game in front of fans (fortunately that did not happen), I knew it was getting serious quick. The dominos quickly started to fall after that,” Holmes said in an email to The Signal.

He was in his office when the NCAA Tournament was canceled. The move did not surprise him or the rest of the athletics department. But the day after the men’s basketball team fell to the Georgia Southern Eagles in the quarterfinals of the Sun Belt Tournament, spring athletics were also canceled. 

“I was a little more surprised with the decision to cancel the spring championships, but unfortunately, I believe it too was inevitable,” Holmes said. 

Georgia State boasted a total of 57 seniors during the 2019-20 seasons. Holmes hopes to see each of them back next season.

“By the time we found out all of the championships were cancelled, word was starting to come out that their careers wouldn’t necessarily be over,” he said. 

Stadium’s Jeff Goodman reported earlier this month that student-athletes who were participating in spring sports would have another year of eligibility.

But COVID-19 extends far beyond just those seniors. It affects the entire school; the deadly disease continues to sweep through the country. However, Holmes remains optimistic.

“College athletics and the sports world will survive this,” he said. “The [U.S.] is a resilient country and will bounce back and we will enjoy sports again in this country, hopefully before long.”

An avid New York Mets fan, Holmes cannot wait to see reigning MLB National League Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso.

Unfortunately, the athletics department is unable to see its well-rounded student-athletes every day. But everyone is looking to make the most of such a delicate situation.

“As a department, we have maintained contact with all of our student-athletes,” Holmes said. “I have been in touch with some directly related to my sports and most are still upbeat and understanding.”

Aside from the athletics department, Holmes has a family of his own. He and his wife have two children and have continued to stay at home. It did not take long for him to get antsy. He continues to go for runs. They have been the only occasion for him to leave home since March 20.

Holmes has adapted well to the new office of his. It does not come with a view of Georgia State Stadium like the one at work does, though. Instead of interacting with colleagues on a daily basis, Holmes’ communicates with his Panther Family remotely, something he is not used to.

“Working from home has been unique and brought on some challenges while also serving as a homeschool teacher to two little ones,” he said, in reference to his children. “However, about a week in and I think I have found a good routine of balancing everything that needs to be balanced.”

While Holmes works from home, student-athletes will join the rest of the student body and learn from home. Professors have already given students revised schedules. Similarly, his department is working to produce exceptional content for everyone to see. The latest stories can be found on Georgia State’s athletics homepage.

But this is Holmes’ side of the story.

What about the rest of the sports world? 

The NFL Draft will still happen from April 23-25, but the fans watch the next face of their franchise shake the commissioner’s hand live. The event is closed to the public. 

The upcoming WNBA Draft will still happen on April 17. However, it will be a virtual event. Commissioner Cathy Engelbert will announce the draft picks live on ESPN.

The MLB season was set to begin this past Thursday. A recent agreement between the league and its Players Association did not give a specific date for Opening Day. Rather, it stated that the season will not begin until the players can play in front of crowds and travel restrictions throughout the U.S. and Canada are terminated, among other things.

The NBA postponed its season following the conclusion of its final game on March 12 after Utah Jazz forward Rudy Gobert became the first confirmed professional athlete to test positive for COVID-19 in the U.S. Rumors began on Friday suggesting that games could move to the Bahamas or Las Vegas to finish the season. 

The NHL suspended its season on March 12. Most recently, the NHL Combine, NHL Awards Show and the NHL Draft were all postponed. Each was scheduled to happen in June.

The Olympic Games were set in stone for the summer. The stone broke when the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee released this statement on Friday.

Only time will tell when fans can go back to watching live sports again.