COVID-19 and sports: Latest updates across all leagues
Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

COVID-19 and sports: Latest updates across all leagues

It's been several months since sports in the United States came to a screeching halt amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the NBA, MLB and NHL seasons suddenly were put on hiatus.

Recent UFC bouts, WWE matches, NASCAR races and golf tournaments offered a glimmer of hope, and now the timelines of major sports are finally still being finalized. The NBA, NHL and MLB have announced plans to return to play, but with news breaking so often, we’ve gathered the latest stories fans need to know.

 
1 of 19

COVID-19 and sports: Latest updates across all leagues

COVID-19 and sports: Latest updates across all leagues
Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

It's been more than a year since sports in the United States came to a screeching halt amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the NBA, MLB and NHL seasons suddenly were put on hiatus.

The NHL, NBA and MLB resumed and completed their seasons, but outbreaks complicated baseball's return. The NBA's 2020-21 was completed, but the league was forced to postponement many games.

The NFL was able to complete its 2020-21 season — despite COVID-19 outbreaks causing schedule reshuffling throughout the campaign.  

Over in the college ranks, the NCAA was able complete its college football season. On January 11, the Alabama Crimson Tide won the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. However, college basketball programs continue to experience issues.

With news breaking so often, we’ve gathered the latest stories fans need to know.

 
2 of 19

NBA

NBA
NBA commissioner Adam Silver Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Here is what has happened over the last couple of weeks in the NBA:

OCTOBER 14

  • Brooklyn Nets star point guard Kyrie Irving confirmed and explained his decision to remained unvaccinated against COVID-19 during an  Instagram Live video on Wednesday night. The seven-time All-Star insisted that he is not retiring from the NBA and that his decision not to get vaccinated was "about my life and what I am choosing to do." Irving said that his decision is "not a political thing," "not about the NBA" and "not about any organization." Read more here.

OCTOBER 13

  • Kyrie Irving's refusal to get vaccinated will cost him more than just this season's paycheck. Per Alec Sturm of Nets Daily (h/t Bleacher Report), NBA insider Shams Charania explained on "The Glue Guys" podcast the Nets won't be offering Irving a contract extension during this standoff. Charania says it was to be a $186 million extension offer. Read more here.

OCTOBER 12

  • The Nets decided that they’re not comfortable with guard Kyrie Irving only playing in half the team’s games due to his vaccination status. Brooklyn issued a press release Tuesday announcing that Irving won’t play or practice with the team until he can be a “full participant,” with general manager Sean Marks explaining the organization’s stance. Irving is the only player on the Nets who remains unvaccinated against COVID-19. A New York City executive order requires individuals who work in the city to have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine in order to enter indoor venues such as Barclays Center. Taking into account the Nets’ 41 home games and their two games at Madison Square Garden, Irving would be ineligible to play in 43 of 82 regular-season contests this season as long as he remains unvaccinated and the city’s executive order remains unchanged. Although Irving would have been eligible to play in Brooklyn’s other 39 games, it would have been a very stop-and-start process, especially since the Nets have seven home stands this season of three games or more. The team decided it would be untenable to have the point guard only available on the road, a decision that involved stars Kevin Durant and James Harden in addition to Marks and team owner Joe Tsai, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Read more here.
  • Celtics center Al Horford has tested positive for the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the team announced Tuesday in a press release. Per the NBA’s coronavirus health and safety protocols, Horford is now isolating from players and team personnel. Read more here.

OCTOBER 11

  • It appears Ben Simmons is rejoining the Sixers. He has arrived in Philadelphia and took a COVID-19 test, as required by NBA protocols, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. The organization wants Simmons back on the court once he clears protocols, but that remains to be seen, Wojnarowski adds in another tweet. Read more here.

OCTOBER 8

  • Per CBS Sports' Jack Maloney and Conor Roche of Boston.com, the Celtics confirmed that All-Star Jaylen Brown is quarantining after he tested positive for COVID-19. While the club added that Brown is asymptomatic, it's unknown if he's considered fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Read more here.

OCTOBER 7

  • According to Christopher Weber of the Associated Press, the Los Angeles City Council voted on Wednesday to approve one of the country’s strictest vaccine mandates. The ordinance will bar unvaccinated individuals from many indoor venues – including sports arenas – unless they receive medical or religious exemptions. According to Tim Bontemps of ESPN, L.A.’s vaccine mandate – which goes into effect in November – will include the same non-resident performer exemption that is included in New York’s and San Francisco’s executive orders. That means, for NBA purposes, the mandate will apply to players on the Lakers and Clippers but not to visiting players. Fortunately for the two Los Angeles teams, no players currently on their rosters appears likely to be impacted. Both the Lakers and Clippers indicated during training camp last week that their rosters will be fully vaccinated for the start of the 2021-22 season. Read more here.

OCTOBER 6

  • The National Basketball Players Association didn’t sign off on allowing teams to dock players 1/91.6th of their salaries for 2021-22 if they’re unable to play in a game due to a local vaccine mandate, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts tells Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Roberts tells Bondy that while the NBPA approved that per-game penalty (1/91.6th of a player’s salary) for certain health and safety protocol violations, the union doesn’t believe it should apply to players who miss games solely for being unvaccinated. As Roberts explains, the NBPA’s position is that a player shouldn’t be punished for being unvaccinated, since the NBA has no vaccine mandate of its own for its players. The league’s stance, per Roberts, is that the Collective Bargaining Agreement allows teams to assess those penalties without NBPA approval. Roberts reiterated that the vast majority of NBA players are fully vaccinated. She told Kavitha Davidson of The Athletic (Twitter link) that there’s now a 96% vaccination rate among NBA players, noting that vaccinated players have played a role in helping convince some of the holdouts. Read more here.
  • The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on Wednesday that NBA players were informed about the harsh penalties unvaccinated players will face in Canada if they do not follow stringent rules. Unvaccinated players are allowed to leave the team hotel only to go to team activities. If they are caught leaving the hotel for other reasons, they could face up to six months in prison and/or $750K in fines. Read more here.

OCTOBER 5

  • Golden State Warriors swingman Andrew Wiggins explained his decision to get the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, telling reporters he felt forced to do so in order to continue his NBA career. Wiggins' decision to get vaccinated came after the NBA denied his application for religious exemption. His vaccination status came into question after the San Francisco Department of Public Health revealed anyone age 12 or over must be vaccinated to attend indoor events. Wiggins also explained why he was hesitant to get vaccinated, adding he holds nothing against the Warriors for how things played out. Read more here.

OCTOBER 4

  • The NBA and NBPA have agreed that unvaccinated players who can’t play in games due to local governmental vaccine mandates will be docked 1/91.6th of their salaries for each game missed, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, Bobby Marks and Adrian Wojnarowski. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 30

SEPTEMBER 29

  • NBA players may not be able to play in certain games this season if they choose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine. According to the league, players who are unable to play due to vaccination status will not receive their game checks. Many have been wondering what will happen in New York City and San Francisco, where unvaccinated individuals currently are not allowed inside sports arenas, indoor restaurants and other venues. NBA spokesman Mike Bass said Wednesday that if unvaccinated players cannot play in games in those cities, they will not be paid. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 28

  • Visiting players who haven’t been vaccinated will be able to receive National Interest Exemptions to play in Toronto, according to The Athletic. They must test negative after arriving in Canada and won’t be able to leave the team hotel, other than to go to Scotiabank Arena. Raptors players are almost fully vaccinated and the team expects to reach that status by opening night. Read more here.
  • Jonathan Isaac is among the approximately 10 percent of NBA players who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine. The Magic big man answered questions on Monday about why he has declined the vaccine. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 28

  • Suns star Devin Booker confirmed on a Twitch stream on Sunday that he’s currently dealing with a case of COVID-19, as Kellan Olson of 98.7 Arizona Sports relays. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 24

  • According to SNY's Ian Begley, general manager Scott Perry announced Friday that all Knicks players are vaccinated against the coronavirus. As things currently stand, the NBA has told the Knicks and Brooklyn Nets they must follow the New York City vaccination mandate regarding individuals entering venues such as MSG. Players, thus, are not allowed to play in exhibition, regular-season or playoff games held at the "World's Most Famous Arena" unless they are vaccinated or have received approved medical or religious exemptions. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 21

  • According to Tim Bontemps of ESPN, Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks admitted on Tuesday that some players would be "missing" if the team had to practice for a game today but added that New York's COVID-19 guidelines regarding individuals entering arenas such as Barclays Center shouldn't be an issue for the club by the start of the regular season next month. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 20

  • Some Golden State Warriors could be facing a conundrum as the 2021-22 NBA season approaches. Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area reported Monday that unvaccinated Warriors players could potentially lose a lot of money pursuant to the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s new policy governing entrance into venues such as the Chase Center. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 14

  • According to Baxter Holmes and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, NBA players will not be forced to receive one of the available coronavirus vaccine shots because the National Basketball Players Association "has refused to budge on its demand that players not be required to take the vaccine." The NBA and NBPA did not offer a comment to ESPN, but the Worldwide Leader added approximately 85% of the Association's players were vaccinated as of earlier this month. ESPN reports the NBA and NBPA are still negotiating health and safety protocols for vaccinated and unvaccinated players for the 2021-22 season. Read more here.
  • Additionally, unvaccinated players will face strict protocols. Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that non-vaccinated players will have to test negative on game day twice if they plan on suiting up. Vaccinated players will not undergo regular testing. Read more here.
 
3 of 19

MLB

MLB
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Here is the latest MLB news from the past couple of weeks:

OCTOBER 21

  • Outfielder Jorge Soler has been cleared by the MLB Joint Health and Safety Committee to return to the Braves active roster, the club announced. Soler had been ineligible since Game 4 of the Braves’ NLDS matchup with the Brewers, when he was removed from the team’s starting lineup only a few hours before first pitch. He was later confirmed to have received a positive COVID test and to have entered isolation. Read more here.
  • The Red Sox have reinstated right-hander Phillips Valdez from the COVID-19-related injured list. Read more here.

OCTOBER 6

  • Major League Baseball is preparing a policy that will require all minor league players to be vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to the start of next season, Yahoo Sports’ Hannah Keyser reports. The news comes just a few weeks after the league’s requirement that all players participating in the Arizona Fall League be vaccinated. Because minor leaguers aren’t part of the players union until they have actually played in the big leagues, MLB can issue mandates covering all of minor league baseball even though some players within the farm system have already made appearances in the show and/or are on 40-man rosters. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 20

  • Major League Baseball is requiring players to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to participate in the Arizona Fall League, reports Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. It marks the first instance of an MLB vaccination mandate directly affecting players. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 17

  • A large COVID-19 outbreak hit the Boston Red Sox clubhouse during the team's final playoff push, and one player was understandably upset after 12 players and two staffers tested positive for the virus. In an interview with The Boston Globe's Alex Speier, reliever Adam Ottavino shared how uncomfortable he was being around the team during the start of the outbreak. Read more here.
 
4 of 19

NHL

NHL
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Here is what the NHL has been doing over the past couple of weeks to prepare for he league's resumption:

OCTOBER 23

  • The Penguins announced that defenseman Kris Letang has tested positive for COVID and entered the league protocol. Meanwhile in Chicago, the Blackhawks have announced that Patrick Kane, Ryan Carpenter and Erik Gustafsson have all entered the COVID Protocol. In light of all these placements, the NHL is reportedly reconsidering testing asymptomatic players, per Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli. Read more here.

OCTOBER 21

  • The NHL's website updated that Winnipeg center Mark Scheifele tested positive again Thursday morning and is now in the league's COVID-19 protocol. Read more here.
  • The Blues have announced that forward Brandon Saad will be unavailable on Saturday due to COVID protocol. Saad, as well as the entire Blues roster, is vaccinated. Read more here.

OCTOBER 19

  • According to ESPN/The Associated Press and Scott Billeck of the Winnipeg Sun, Jets captain Blake Wheeler is symptomatic after testing positive for COVID-19 and, as a result, will miss at least the next four games. Read more here.

OCTOBER 18

  • On Monday, the league confirmed that it has suspended Sharks star Evander Kane 21 games without pay for violating its coronavirus-related health and safety protocols. He will be eligible to return on Nov. 30 against the New Jersey Devils. Read more here.

OCTOBER 16

  • The Predators announced they placed goaltender David Rittich in the COVID protocol. Read more here.
  • Adrian Dater of Colorado Hockey Now reports that Avalanche defenseman Jack Johnson has been placed in the COVID protocol after testing positive for the virus.  He’s presently asymptomatic but will be out indefinitely.  The team has confirmed that Johnson is in the protocol. Read more here.
  • Penguins center Zach Aston-Reese was activated from the COVID protocol. Read more here.

OCTOBER 15

OCTOBER 12

  • The Colorado Avalanche dropped a bomb Tuesday. Nathan MacKinnonwill not practice, with the team announcing it is a protocol-related absence. MacKinnon is out indefinitely and could potentially miss the season opener if he is not cleared in time. Read more here.

OCTOBER 11

OCTOBER 8

  • Corey Masisak of The Athletic reported Devils goalie Mackenzi Blackwood, one of the handful of players who have decided not to be vaccinated, had inconclusive COVID-19 test results. According to Masisak, the team is expecting to know for sure one way or the other on Blackwood’s status by Sunday. Read more here.

OCTOBER 7

OCTOBER 3

OCTOBER 1

  • After clearing waivers Friday, it was expected that Blue Jackets winger Zac Rinaldo would be assigned to Columbus’ AHL team in Cleveland. The veteran wasn’t invited to training camp after declining to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. However, GM Jarmo Kekalainen released the following statement, announcing that Rinaldo will not be going there after all: "Our position has been very clear that our organization is committed to doing everything we can to ensure the health and safety of our players, coaches, staff and fans. Given the impact COVID-19 continues to have in our communities, we believe the best course of action given Zac’s vaccination status is to not have him report to Cleveland at this time. While we respect an individual’s right to make a personal choice with regards to being vaccinated or not, we have a responsibility to do what we believe is best for our organization. We will honor Zac’s contract, but if he wants to pursue any other opportunities to play this season we will allow him to do so." Read more here.
  • NHL insider Chris Johnston reports that no NHL players have opted out of the 2021-22 season before Friday night’s midnight ET deadline. This is the second straight regular season in which opting out has been an option available to players. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 16

  • One of the changes to the COVID protocols in the NHL for the upcoming season is the ability for teams to suspend players without pay who are “unable to participate in club activities” due to being unvaccinated.  Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed to Postmedia’s Patrick Johnston that Section 50.10(c) of the CBA will apply in this scenario, which means that teams that suspend an unvaccinated player under these protocols will receive corresponding cap relief for the day(s) for which the players are suspended. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 3

  • The NHL and NHLPA are reportedly finalizing an agreement with the International Olympic Committee and the International Ice Hockey Federation for participation in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, according to Sports Business Journal. As part of the agreement, NHL players who participate in the Olympics will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. As Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports, the league retains the right to withdraw participation if the COVID situation worsens or if its regular schedule has been disrupted by outbreaks, leaving no room to reschedule games. Read more here and here.
 
5 of 19

NFL

NFL
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Here are updates from around the NFL:

OCTOBER 22

  • The Bears placed tight end Jimmy Graham on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Read more here.
  • Kliff Kingsbury tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of last Sunday's blowout win at the Cleveland Browns, and Darren Urban noted for the Cardinals' website Kingsbury was still away from the team. Read more here.
  • However, per Howard Balzer of All Cardinals, top-tier pass-rusher and Arizona's two-time First-Team All-Pro Chandler Jones cleared the NFL's COVID-19 protocols after he also missed the Browns contest because of testing positive for the coronavirus. Read more here.

OCTOBER 21

  • The Eagles have activated tight end Dallas Goedert  from the COVID list. Read more here.

OCTOBER 19

  • According to Jeff Dickerson of ESPN, Bears star pass-rusher and two-time Pro Bowl selection Robert Quinn was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday. ESPN's Field Yates reports Quinn tested positive for the coronavirus. Read more here.

OCTOBER 16

  • If NFL teams avoided signing Cam Newton as a backup due to the possibility that his vaccination status could cost him time, that snag has been rectified. According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, teams that have been in contact with Newton have been told that the quarterback is now vaccinated against COVID-19. Read more here.

OCTOBER 14

  • According to Dan Graziano of ESPN, the Cardinals have had at least three positive COVID-19 tests heading into Week 6. Read more here.
  • Per Jeff Dickerson of ESPN, the Bears placed running back Damien Williams on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday after he tested positive for the virus. Read more here.
  • Starting Nov. 15, things will change for fans attending Seahawks games at Lumen Field in Seattle. At that time, fans will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or obtain a negative test within 72 hours prior to kickoff. Read more here.

OCTOBER 12

  • According to Field Yates of ESPN, Arizona two-time First-Team All-Pro Chandler Jones tested positive for COVID-19, and his status for Week 6 is up in the air. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 30

  • Tom Brady will have one of his favorite targets when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium this weekend. Veteran wide receiver Antonio Brown was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The Bucs announced Sept. 22 that Brown had been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Vaccinated players are eligible to return after 10 days. All Buccaneers players and staff members have been vaccinated, head coach Bruce Arians announced before the 2021 season began. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 29

  • The Seahawks are likely to be without Gerald Everett for at least Week 4. The veteran tight end tested positive for COVID-19 and landed on Seattle’s coronavirus list, per Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 25

  • The Philadelphia Eagles have activated veteran tight end Zach Ertz from the reserve/COVID-19 list, the franchise announced Saturday. Read more here.
  • Dallas Cowboys linebacker Keanu Neal has tested positive for COVID-19, according to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 24

  • The Ravens placed three defensive starters on their reserve/COVID-19 list Friday. Outside linebackers Justin Houston and Jaylon Ferguson join defensive linemen Brandon Williams and Justin Madubuike on Baltimore’s coronavirus list. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 11

  • Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane was asked by John Kryk of the Toronto Sun whether it's a competitive disadvantage not to have a fully vaccinated roster. He said it is, especially when going up against a team that is fully vaccinated. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 10

  • The Las Vegas Raiders have reportedly reached 100% vaccination, according to Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Las Vegas becomes the third team in the NFL to reach 100% vaccination, joining the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 4

  • Although Tom Brady now is vaccinated against COVID-19, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback confirmed in an interview with Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times that he contracted the deadly virus shortly after the team's Super Bowl parade in February. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 3

  • Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Denzel Perryman told reporters that he doesn't enjoy feeling like an outcast in the team's facility because he is unvaccinated. "For the record, I am thinking about the vaccination now," Perryman said, according to Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "I ain't gonna lie. Too many restrictions going on. Can't even eat with my fellow brothers. I don't like being an outcast." Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 2

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said Thursday that the entire organization is vaccinated against COVID-19, making them one of the first teams in the NFL to reach that mark, per ESPN. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 1

  • New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick met with the media Wednesday for the first time since releasing Cam Newton and naming rookie quarterback Mac Jones QB1. There was speculation that Newton's vaccination status played a role in his release. Belichick denied the rumors, adding that plenty of vaccinated players and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 this summer. Read more here.
 
6 of 19

Golf

Golf
Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods recently participated in a charity golf match. Mike Ehrmann-Handout Photo

The latest from the world of golf since competition resumed:

AUGUST 17

  • Jon Rahm heads into the FedEx Cup playoffs ranked No. 1 in the power rankings after he had to miss the Olympics due to testing positive for COVID-19. Read more here.

AUGUST 4

  • American golf star Bryson DeChambeau missed out on competing at the Summer Olympics after he tested positive for COVID-19. The 27-year-old is set to play in this week's WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and told reporters Wednesday he doesn't regret remaining unvaccinated against COVID-19. DeChambeau added he lost "eight to 10 pounds" during his quarantine and needs to regain some clubhead speed before he can reclaim his best form on the course. Read more here.
  • With COVID-19 cases surging throughout the United States due to different variants, the PGA Tour is going back to its previous guidelines of mandating that all individuals wear masks indoors at events regardless of their vaccination statuses. Read more here.

JUNE 5

  • Jon Rahm was on his way to what looked like a clear victory at the Memorial before being forced to withdraw Saturday under crushing circumstances. Rahm had a six-stroke lead, and after he finished his round, he spoke with officials before becoming visibly emotional. As it turned out, Rahm had tested positive for COVID-19, and was being informed of that fact. Under PGA Tour protocols, the positive test meant Rahm had to withdraw from the tournament despite his huge lead. Read more here.
 
7 of 19

NASCAR

NASCAR
Kevin Harvick won the Real Heroes 400. Brynn Anderson-Pool Photo

What's the latest from the world of NASCAR:

APRIL 25

  • NASCAR will not require drivers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, president Steve Phelps said Sunday, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN). "It is important, in my opinion, that people get vaccinated," Phelps said before the race at Talladega Superspeedway. Bubba Wallace and Denny Hamlin are among the few NASCAR drivers who have made it known that they received the COVID-19 vaccine. Read more here.

MARCH 11

  • More and more states, cities, and communities are opening outdoor and indoor events to paying spectators despite continued COVID-19 concerns. During a Thursday appearance on ESPN's "First Take," National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci explained that the existence of at least three coronavirus vaccines should permit growing numbers of fans to safely attend sporting events over the next several months. Read more here.
 
8 of 19

NCAA athletics

NCAA athletics
NCAA president Mark Emmert Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Here is the fallout from the most recent news from the NCAA:

OCTOBER 22

  • It was reported by The Athletic that third-year Clemson wideout Joseph Ngata has been placed in COVID-19 protocols. Ngata is Clemson's leading receiver this season. Read more here.

OCTOBER 20

  • Former Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich is taking his former employer to court, claiming he and four assistant coaches were illegally released for not complying with the school's and state's COVID-19 vaccination mandate. According to multiple outlets, Rolovich sought a religious exemption from meeting WSU's vaccine mandate. The school will not confirm nor deny Rolovich's ask for exemption because he is "a devout Catholic," only that he and four assistants didn't meet Washington state's requirement for staff to have at least one vaccination shot by Monday. Read more here.

OCTOBER 18

  • Washington State coach Nick Rolovich is out of a job after failing to comply with the state’s vaccine mandate. Rolovich was fired for cause on Monday along with other unvaccinated Washington State assistant coaches, The Oregonian’s John Canzano was first to report. The state’s vaccine mandate for all state employees came into effect Monday, two months after it was announced in August. Read more here.

OCTOBER 8

  • Back in August, the LSU Tigers became the first SEC team to require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or of a negative virus test to attend home football games. That will no longer be the case. LSU announced that it is lifting its COVID-19 entrance protocols. Read more here.
  • Five members of the UConn Huskies football program have tested positive for COVID-19, per Dave Wilson of ESPN. UConn confirmed Friday that interim head coach Lou Spanos, offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Frank Giufre, tight ends coach Corey Edsall, left tackle Ryan Van Demark and offensive lineman Will Meyer have all tested positive for the coronavirus. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 7

  • According to The Associated Press (h/t ESPN), Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball coach John Calipari revealed Tuesday that he tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of this summer's NBA Draft despite being fully vaccinated against the virus. During a virtual news conference, Calipari explained he experienced only mild coronavirus symptoms and urged individuals who haven't yet received one of the safe and available vaccines to get the shots. Read more here.

 
9 of 19

Tennis

Tennis
Wimbledon was canceled for the first time in 75 years. Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Here is what has happened most recently in the world of tennis:

SEPTEMBER 1

  • While speaking with reporters Wednesday, former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka explained she believes it's "bizarre" ATP and WTA players aren't facing a vaccination mandate. "I don't see the point of stalling it, because we all want to be safe, we all want to continue doing our jobs, and I know there is a lot of discussions about it," Azarenka said about governing bodies forcing players to be vaccinated against the coronavirus to be eligible to participate in tournaments, per Aishwarya Kumar of ESPN. Read more here.

AUGUST 27

  • The United States Tennis Association announced Friday that fans 12 years of age or older must show proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to attend the U.S. Open. Read more here.

AUGUST 12

  • While the main draw for the U.S. Open is scheduled to begin Aug. 30 in New York, the event's qualifying rounds are held the week before and are typically open to the public. However, the United States Tennis Association confirmed Thursday that spectators will not be allowed to attend qualifying matches because of fears and issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.
 
10 of 19

Pro wrestling

Pro wrestling
This year's WrestleMania still took place. Kevin R. Wexler/NorthJersey.com-NorthJersey

Pro wrestling news over the past few weeks:

JANUARY 11

  • WWE champion Drew McIntyre tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in quarantine. As Joseph Currier of the Wrestling Observer noted, this is the first time that WWE confirmed the identity of a roster member who returned a positive coronavirus test since the start of the pandemic. According to Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com, multiple wrestling brands that have national television deals are currently dealing with COVID-19 issues. Read more here.

SEPTEMER 24

  • Back in March, Roman Reigns decided to opt out of WrestleMania 36 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During an appearance on "WWE After the Bell" with "SmackDown" announcer Corey Graves, Reigns explained his choice, saying that it was entirely based on keeping his family safe. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 2

  • Legendary wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson shared on Instagram that he, his wife, and his two baby daughters all tested positive for the coronavirus. The Rock says they got the virus from close family friends. He said overcoming the virus was harder than recovering from injuries he’s dealt with in the past. Read more here.
 
11 of 19

UFC

UFC
Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Dominick Cruz (blue gloves) during UFC 249. Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Here's the latest from the MMA world:

APRIL 5

  • While speaking on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show, UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski (22-1-0) revealed that he was hospitalized with pneumonia while battling COVID-19 after he tested positive for the virus on March 19. He had been scheduled to defend his title versus Brian Ortega on March 27 but had the fight scrapped due to his positive result. Read more here.
 
12 of 19

Boxing

Boxing
The third installment of Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin will be postponed. Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

What's new in boxing:

SEPTEMBER 8

  • Oscar De La Hoya posted a video on social media Wednesday after being released from the hospital. De La Hoya said in the video that he was hospitalized for three days after contracting COVID-19. He says that COVID hit him “really hard” despite him being in great physical shape. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 3

  • Oscar De La Hoya tested positive for COVID-19, TMZ reports. Evander Holyfield has agreed to take De La Hoya’s place and fight Vitor Belfort on Sept. 11. The fight will need approval from the California State Athletic Commission. TMZ reports that the fight will be moved to Florida if California will not sanction it. Read more here.
  • De La Hoya shared a video from a hospital bed on Friday. The 48-year-old confirmed that he tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated. De La Hoya said in a follow-up tweet that he has been receiving treatment and is confident he will make a full recovery. He is still aiming to fight before the end of the year. Read more here.

JULY 8

  • The third match between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder that was scheduled for July 24 has been postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak among Fury’s camp. Fury tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing symptoms. The 6-foot-9 heavyweight champion received one COVID-19 vaccine dose but did not get the second shot, according to boxing reporter Dan Rafael. Read more here.
 
13 of 19

Summer Olympics

Summer Olympics
The 2020 Summer Games were pushed to 2021. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The latest from the IOC:

JULY 28

  • Sam Kendricks was expected to earn a medal for Team USA at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, but that won’t be happening. Kendricks tested positive for COVID-19 and was not be able to compete in the Summer Games. Read more here.

JULY 23

  • Many people in Japan are unhappy that their nation is hosting the Olympics with the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, and that resulted in protests taking place outside the Opening Ceremony on Friday. The Opening Ceremony for the Olympic Games was held at the National Stadium in Tokyo on Friday evening. Outside the stadium, hundreds of people gathered for a march during which they chanted things like, “Go to hell, Olympics!” Read more here.
 
14 of 19

MLS, NWSL

MLS, NWSL
MLS and NWSL continue to be on hold. Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

MLS and NWSL most recent developments:

SEPTEMBER 7

  • United States men's national team midfielder Weston McKennie was suspended for this past Sunday's 1-1 draw against Canada in a World Cup qualifier due to violations of the program's COVID-19 policies and dismissed entirely from the team on Monday ahead of Wednesday's qualifier at Honduras.  There's now more information on the exact nature of McKennie's supposed wrongdoings.  According to Jeff Carlisle of ESPN, McKennie spent a night outside of the team's coronavirus bubble during the current international break. Additionally, both Carlisle and TUDN's "Hablamos Soccer" podcast report the 23-year-old brought an unauthorized individual inside the U.S. bubble and into his hotel room on a different night.  As a result, manager Gregg Berhalter released McKennie back to Serie A club Juventus. Read more here.

JULY 20

  • For the second straight year, there will be no U.S. Open Cup due to COVID-19. The U.S. Soccer Federation confirmed on Tuesday that this year's edition of the competition won't take place "after not finding available match dates shared across the various participating leagues." According to Brian Straus of Sports Illustrated, a proposal to hold an altered U.S. Open Cup format with 24 clubs in May and June was abandoned, and the federation explained Tuesday it's now planning for next year instead of for the fall months. U.S. Soccer said Tuesday its board of directors will address the automatic berth for the 2022 Champions League in the coming weeks. Read more here.
 
15 of 19

International soccer

International soccer
Some soccer leagues overseas have resumed play, albeit in empty stadiums. Ulrich Hufnagel/Xinhua/Sipa USA

Most recent news from international soccer circles:

SEPTEMBER 17

  • Multiple English Premier League clubs refused to release players to South American countries for September World Cup qualifiers because those nations were on the United Kingdom's COVID-19 red list, meaning the footballers would've had to complete quarantines that would've made them unavailable for multiple club matches. According to The Associated Press (h/t ESPN), United States men's national team star and Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic is one of a handful of Americans who might miss an upcoming qualifier at Panama on Oct. 10 because of red-list travel issues. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 5

  • Sunday's World Cup qualifying match between Brazil and Argentina was suspended moments after kickoff because Brazilian health officials objected to the participation of four Argentinian players who allegedly broke quarantine rules, according to Reuters (h/t ESPN). Brazilian rules state visitors who have been in England in the 14 days before entering the country must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. The four players allegedly put false information on their immigration forms, stating they had not been in the UK. Read more here.

AUGUST 25

  • The Premier League declared Tuesday that its teams will not release players for September World Cup qualifiers held in countries on England's "red list" because footballers would miss multiple club contests due to COVID-19 quarantine restrictions upon their returns to England. According to Sky Sports, the British government currently has "no plans" to change its policies even after FIFA president Gianni Infantino requested exemptions for players in a message written to United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Since Tuesday's news, the English Football League and Spain's La Liga have both backed the Premier League's stance. Read more here.

AUGUST 24

AUGUST 23

  • Liverpool will not allow Mohamed Salah to play in Egypt's upcoming World Cup qualifying matches because of COVID-19 restrictions, the country's football association said Monday. Egypt is on England's red list, which means Salah would be required to quarantine upon his return to the country and miss two Premier League games. Read more here.
  • The English Premier League hasn't yet had to postpone a match because of COVID-19 this season, but the top-flight nevertheless continues to encounter coronavirus-related issues this summer. On Monday, the league confirmed that it recorded 16 new positive COVID-19 tests from Aug. 16-22. Read more here.

AUGUST 20

  • Chelsea winger and United States men's national team star Christian Pulisic tested positive for COVID-19, Blues manager Thomas Tuchel confirmed Friday. The 22-year-old has been absent from training this week as Chelsea prepares for a Premier League clash against Arsenal on Sunday. Pulisic will miss that match. Read more here.

AUGUST 19

  • Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and forward Alexandre Lacazette were both unavailable for last Friday's Premier League opener at Brentford due to what were, at the time, unspecified illnesses. Ahead of this Sunday's league clash with Chelsea, Arsenal confirmed Thursday that both players tested positive for COVID-19. "Auba is now negative on COVID-19 testing, is well and following all protocols for return to play," Arsenal explained. "He will return to training and be assessed prior to Sunday’s match." Lacazette, meanwhile, is still recovering and won't be available for selection through the weekend. Additionally, Alex Runarsson and Willian also tested positive for the coronavirus. Runarsson has been ruled out for Sunday's match, while a final decision on Willian's status hasn't yet been made. Read more here.
 
16 of 19

WNBA

WNBA
WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

WNBA's latest developments:

JUNE 28

  • The WNBA announced Monday that an astonishing 99% of its players are considered fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. "All 12 teams have met the threshold for being considered a fully-vaccinated team," the Association added in its brief statement. No players have tested positive for the virus since the regular season started on May 14. Read more here.

APRIL 13

  • The 25th WNBA season will have a much more normal feel to it than its 24th. On Tuesday, the WNBA announced the upcoming regular season will begin May 14 and feature the league's 12 teams playing at their home venues. The league will temporarily pause from July 15 through Aug. 11 due to the Summer Olympics, and teams will play a total of 32 games through the final day of the regular season scheduled for Sept. 19. The 2020 campaign was shifted to the bubble site at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. due to concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fan attendance for upcoming games will be determined and announced by individual clubs, and all teams will follow local health and safety recommendations. Read more here.
 
17 of 19

International baseball

International baseball
While MLB remains on hold, baseball has resumed overseas. Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

What has happened in international baseball:

JULY 8

  • During a recent game against the Rakuten Eagles, the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks employed 20 dancing robots to liven things up. The two kinds of robots, SoftBank’s humanoid robot ‘Pepper’ and others on four legs, engaged in a choreographed dance to the team’s fight song. Read more here.
 
18 of 19

eSports

eSports
eSports has thrived under lockdown during the pandemic. The Commercial Appeal-Imagn Content Services, LLC

esports carries on:


MAY 19

  • Esports’ popularity has experienced an uptick on both sides of the remote, as CNBC’s Bob Woods reported on May 19 that streaming website Twitch experienced a “23% surge in viewership in March,” coinciding with the time frame when much of the country started to stay home.

MAY 4

  • While the pandemic is having a negative effect on the sports world, it’s been business as usual for esports and gaming. Participants can easily play while maintaining social distancing guidelines since gaming takes place online. In fact, esports has been flourishing. Texas A&M head esports coach Travis Yang told KSAT.com that there has been a “noticeable increase” in gamers and tournaments as people were forced to stay at home.
 
19 of 19

One-off events

One-off events
The Boston Marathon was canceled for the first time in 124 years. Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Most recent developments among other sports:

AUGUST 21

  • After hoping to allow a decreased percentage of spectators to the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs Incorporated announced on Friday afternoon that no fans will be welcomed to the event postponed from May 2 to Sept. 5 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.

AUGUST 4

  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway has once again reversed course and declared that the Indianapolis 500 held on Aug. 23 will occur without fans in the stands due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.

JULY 1

  • The 2020 Mexico City Marathon announced that the race scheduled for Aug. 30 is canceled. According to Mexico News Daily, the event drew roughly 30,000 runners last year. Read more here.

JUNE 26

  • The Indianapolis 500, set for Aug. 23, became the latest American sporting event to welcome fans amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles confirmed the news, stating, "We will be limiting attendance to approximately 50 percent of venue capacity." Per Shanna McCarriston of CBS Sports, Indianapolis Motor Speedway carries a capacity of around 235,000. The official announcement also explained that individuals who do not wish to attend, such as those considered high-risk, will receive credits. Safety items such as masks and hand sanitizer will be distributed to all race attendees. Read more here.

JUNE 24

  • The world's largest marathon in New York City has officially been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Jackie Salo of the New York Post. The five-borough race, which hosts more than 50,000 runners from across the globe, would've celebrated its 50th anniversary on Nov. 1. It is now set to take place on Nov. 7, 2021. Read more here.

JUNE 23

  • The Haspa Marathon Hamburg, which was postponed from April, is set to occur on Sept. 13. The race is expecting 10,000 to 14,000 runners. However, Americans might not be among thm. Action Network's Darren Rovell reported that runners from "higher-risk COVID areas" will not be allowed to participate. A higher-risk area could include the United States. Read more here.

JUNE 13

  • Approximately 20,000 rugby fans in New Zealand packed the stands to watch the Otago Highlanders take on the Waikato Chiefs in the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition. New Zealand lifted nearly all of its coronavirus restrictions earlier in the week, as no new cases have been reported for more than 20 days and the death toll is at just 22 in the country since the pandemic started. Read more here.

MAY 28

  • The Boston Marathon, originally scheduled for April 20 but postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic, was canceled and converted into a virtual experience. It's the first time in 124 years the Marathon won't run. Read more here.

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