Tracking the sports schedule: Latest on what’s returning and when – Minneapolis Star Tribune

Tracking the sports schedule: Latest on what’s returning and when  Minneapolis Star Tribune

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With large gatherings banned to slow the spread of the coronavirus, sports were shut down across the world in mid-March.

But sports have returned this summer in ways big and small, including Major League Baseball, the WNBA, PGA Tour, MLS and auto racing.

MLB and the MLB Players Association reached an agreement for a 60-game regular season schedule which began last week but has experienced significant game postponements due to positive tests around the league.

The NBA’s board of governors and players finalized their return to action in Orlando. The league returns to action on Thursday night with a plan to have 22 teams play eight final regular season games before a full playoff schedule.

The NHL and NHLPA agreed to a new four-year collective bargaining agreement and training camps opened as the league continues to build up toward postseason play in Canada, beginning Saturday.

The “MLS is Back” Tournament started in Orlando, but two teams will miss it because of the virus. And the WNBA returned to action on Saturday in Bradenton, Fla.

The NFL still plans to play a full regular season, but canceled its preseason schedule. And the NCAA released guidelines for fall sports, but several conferences, including the Big Ten, have decided to cancel non-conference games for fall sports, including football.

Here is the latest on sports cancellations and postponements and when the games may begin again:

BASEBALL

MLB

Targeted return date: Play has resumed

Spring training was suspended on March 12, and Opening Day, scheduled for March 26, was postponed. The 2020 season started last week.

MLB had to postpone multiple games because several players and coaches of the Miami Marlins tested positive for the coronavirus over the weekend, after facing the Phillies in Philadelphia.

On Friday MLB postponed a game between the Cardinals and Brewers after several Cardinals players tested positive for the virus. The Cardinals faced the Twins on Tuesday and Wednesday night at Target Field.

The Marlins four-game home-and-home series against the Orioles was postponed as was their three-game series against the Nationals scheduled for this weekend in Miami. The Phillies four-game home-and-home series against the Yankees was also postponed, as was their weekend series against the Blue Jays.

After the original games were postponed, the Yankees and Orioles agreed to face each other in a two-game series in Baltimore.

The Twins began the regular season on Friday with a 10-5 win over the White Sox in Chicago. Their home opener was Tuesday night at Target Field against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Blue Jays were denied their request to play at Rogers Center in Canada over concerns from the government about players traveling back-and-forth from the United States. They will play their home games this season at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, the home of the Blue Jays’ Triple-A affiliate Buffalo Bison.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame canceled the induction ceremony for the Class of 2020 — which featured Derek Jeter, Marvin Miller, Ted Simmons and Larry Walker — and will instead have their inductions at the 2021 Hall of Fame Weekend.

American Association

Targeted return date: Play has resumed

The St. Paul Saints announced that the American Association postponed the start of its season, which was scheduled to begin on May 19.

The Saints returned to play on July 3 in Sioux Falls, S.D., one of three hub cities that were hosting games for the league. The Saints announced on Friday that they are returning to CHS Field for 18 home games starting on August 4. A maximum of 1,500 fans per game will be allowed inside the stadium with social distancing and mask rules enforced.

Northwoods League

Targeted return date: Play has resumed

The summer collegiate baseball league was set to begin on May 26, but was delayed. Teams are now playing in regional pods. The Iowa-Minnesota pod features the Willmar Stingers, Mankato MoonDogs, Rochester Honkers, St. Cloud Rox and the Waterloo Bucks. The Duluth Huskies will not participate

NFL

Targeted return date: Sept. 10

Team facilities have reopened after being closed on March 26, but the league operated a “virtual offseason,” including online rookie camps. Training camps are expected to open as scheduled in late July with rookie camp starting this week. 

The NFL and the players’ union reached an agreement that will see players tested daily for the coronavirus over the first two weeks of training camp. The Vikings opened rookie camp last week with safety measures in place.

Commissioner Roger Goodell announced on Tuesday that all preseason games have been canceled.

If regular-season games start on time, the Vikings would open the season with the Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sept. 13. The five games scheduled for Mexico and England will now be played in the United States.

The Vikings are planning for drastically reduced capacity at U.S. Bank Stadium, if fans are allowed at all. And the NFL announced that no matter how many fans are allowed inside, masks will be mandatory for fans attending games.

The NFL Hall of Fame postponed the 2020 induction ceremony to 2021. The class was set to feature modern-era players, Steve Atwater, Isaac Bruce, Steve Hutchinson, Edgerrin James and Troy Polamalu; coaches Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson; and three contributors, Steve Sabol, Paul Tagliabue and George Young.

NHL

Targeted return date: Saturday

The season was suspended March 12 with teams having between 11 and 14 games remaining in the regular season.

The NHL officially closed the books on the regular season and will bring 24 of the 31 teams back for a postseason tournament. The playoffs series will be played at hub locations, likely without fans in attendance. The hub cities are Edmonton for the Western Conference and Toronto for the Eastern Conference.

The league and players agreed on health and safety protocols and an extended collective bargaining agreement. Training camps opened and playoff games are slated to begin in hub cities on Saturday.

The top four teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences will receive byes but play a round-robin series that could impact first-round seeding.

The remaining eight teams per conference will square off in best-of-five play-in series to cut the field to 16 teams. The Wild will be the No. 10 seed in the West and face No. 7 Vancouver, beginning Sunday.

NBA

Targeted return date: Play has resumed

The season was suspended on March 11, with five weeks left in the regular season and most teams having played about 65 of their 82 games.

The league brought 22 teams to Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex outside Orlando, Fla., to finish a truncated regular season, with each team playing eight games, and a full playoff schedule between July 31-October 12.

Games resumed on Thursday, with a doubleheader on TNT featuring the Jazz vs. the Pelicans and the Lakers vs. the Clippers.

The Timberwolves will not be one of those 22 teams, and their season is over after a 19-45 campaign.

WNBA

Targeted return date: Play has resumed

The WNBA postponed the start of its season, which was to begin in May. The league’s draft was held April 17

The league and players approved a 22-game season at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Players will receive their full salary. Games began on July 25 and the Lynx opened their regular season with a 77-69 victory over Connecticut.

COLLEGE SPORTS

Targeted return date: TBD

The NCAA canceled its winter and spring championships, and universities stopped spring sports activities, including spring football practices and games.

The NCAA released guidelines for a potential return to action in the fall but NCAA President Mark Emmert said that if current trends continue with regard to the coronavirus, sports will not be played.

The NCAA voted to allow football and men’s and women’s basketball teams to return to campus for voluntary workouts on June 1, and the NCAA Division I Council approved a preseason model for football that will allow practices to start on Aug. 7.

The Gophers have started the gradual process of allowing athletes to return to campus. University of Minnesota President Joan Gable recommended to the Board of Regents that students return in the fall for in-person classes on campus.

The Big Ten eliminated nonconference games from its fall sports schedules because of the pandemic, a move that impacts the Gophers football and volleyball teams, among others. The Pac 12, ACC and SEC followed suit, with independent Notre Dame joining the ACC for this season.

The Ivy League was the first Division I conference to decide not to play sports during the fall semester. The MIAC has postponed several fall sports to the spring, including football and other Division III programs have also called off fall sports.

The Minnesota College Athletic Conference, with 24 junior and community college teams, has canceled football, volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer for the fall season.

MINNESOTA HIGH SCHOOLS

Targeted return date: Practices have resumed

The Minnesota State High School League allowed schools to resume practices for athletes with coaches present. A vote is expected from the MSHL by Aug. 4 on whether to resume sports competition this fall, but the path to a decision is fraught and several options are being considered, including moving fall sports to the spring.

The Minnesota Department of Health announced that youth outdoor sports could return to scrimmages and games on June 24 and indoor sports returned on July 1.

The MSHSL canceled spring sports practice and competition this year after the winter sports season ended on March 13, five days before tip-off of the boys’ basketball state tournament and the day before the girls’ basketball state finals.

SOCCER

MLS

Targeted return date: Play has resumed

Regular season matches, which began Feb. 29, were suspended on March 12. MLS returned to play on July 8 with all 26 teams based in the Orlando area and are playing a World Cup-style “MLS is Back” tournament without spectators. There are still plans to continue the regular season play after the tournament. 

FC Dallas had to withdraw from the tournament two days before it began because 10 players had tested positive for the coronavirus. Nashville SC was forced to quit the tournament after nine players tested positive. 

Minnesota United, which won its first two games of the season in March, left for Orlando on June 28. The team returned to action with a win against Sporting Kansas City and a draw against Real Salt Lake.

NWSL

Targeted return date: Play has resumed

The top domestic women’s league delayed the start of its season, scheduled for April 18.

The league returned June 27 with the first games of the NWSL Challenge Cup (above) at Zions Bank Stadium in Utah. The tournament concluded on Sunday with the Houston Dash defeating Chicago in the championship. Fans were not allowed in attendance.

The Orlando Pride pulled out of the tournament after several staff members and players tested positive for the coronavirus, though all were asymptomatic.

International

Targeted return date: Play has resumed

Germany’s Bundesliga was the first major European soccer league to return to action, on May 16 while Spain’s La Liga restarted on June 11. Both leagues completed their regular season.

The Premier League returned with 92 games remaining on the schedule. Plans are to complete all league matches by August 1. Coronavirus testing will be increased to 60 tests per club with anyone testing positive being asked to self-isolate for seven days.

Serie A in Italy resumed play on June 20 under an agreement that the testing of their clubs will not interfere with the ability to test other Italian citizens.

The Champions League was halted at the round-of-16 stage and will now be completed in Lisbon starting Aug. 7 with the final being held on Aug. 23. The championship was originally to be held in Istanbul.

The European Championships and Copa America, the premier events of the summer, were rescheduled from June 2020 to June 2021.

France, Belgium and the Netherlands all canceled the remainders of their seasons.

The Ballon d’Or and Ballon d’Or Feminin trophies, which are awarded to the top player in men’s and women’s soccer by Group L’Equipe, was canceled for the first time in history. 

GOLF

PGA Tour

Targeted return date: Play has resumed

The PGA Tour stopped play after the first round of the Players Championship on March 12. The tour resumed June 11 at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas (above). 

The Memorial, which was played last weekend, and the St. Jude Invitational July 30-Aug. 2 were to allow spectators, but those plans were scrapped. 

The revised PGA Tour schedule featured the 3M Open in Blaine, which concluded on Sunday. The event was not allowed to have fans.

Here are the plans for the season’s major golf events: 

  • The PGA Championship, originally May 14-17, will be Aug. 6-9 in San Francisco, with no fans in attendance.
  • The US Open, scheduled for June 18-21 at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, N.Y., just outside New York City, is now Sept. 17-20. 
  • The British Open, scheduled for July 16-19 at Royal St. George’s in England, was canceled.
  • The Masters moved from April to Nov. 12-15.
  • To accommodate the new date for the PGA Championship, the PGA Tour shifted the FedEx playoff events back one week. The final tournament, the Tour Championship, will end on Labor Day, Sept. 7. 
  • The Ryder Cup, planned for September 22-27 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, was postponed until September 2021.

LPGA

Targeted return date: Play has resumed

The top women’s pro tour stopped play in mid-February. The LPGA had hoped to restart July 15-18 at a team event in Michigan, but that tournament was canceled. The LPGA started with the Drive On Championship in Toledo, Ohio on Friday.

The Evian Championship, usually the last major of the season which was schedule to be held from Aug. 6-9 in France, has been canceled.

The four other major tournaments have been rescheduled with the U.S. Women’s Open going last, running from Dec 10-13 in Houston. 

Minnesota courses: Golf courses around the state were allowed to open in mid-April. Special no-touch and social-distancing rules apply, and courses are adjusting to the new normal.

TENNIS

Targeted return date: Aug. 3

No top-level pro tennis tournaments have been played since early March, and none are scheduled until August. A few exhibition events have been disrupted by players testing positive for the virus, including a tour in the Balkans at which Novak Djokovic, the No. 1 men’s player in the world, contracted the virus

The next ATP sanctioned event will be the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., beginning Aug. 14, two weeks later than normal. The next WTA sanctioned event is the Palermo Ladies Open in Italy, beginning Aug. 3.

The U.S. Open, normally the last Grand Slam event on the year,  will be played as scheduled from Aug. 31-Sept 13 and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has given the go-ahead to host the tournament without spectators.

The French Open moved from May 24-June 6 to Sept. 27-Oct. 11, and will allow fans to attend, with stadiums filled up to 60% capacity. Wimbledon, which was to begin June 29, was canceled for the first time since World War II.

China announced that it would not hold any international sporting events, except Olympic trials, for the rest of the year. That would affect at least 10 scheduled tennis tournaments in the fall. 

HORSE RACING

Targeted return date: Racing has resumed

Many tracks around the country have resumed operations, but those that are open are holding races with limited or no spectators.

The Kentucky Derby was postponed from its traditional date on the first Saturday in May until Sept. 5. The Preakness Stakes, scheduled for May 16, will be Oct. 3.

The Belmont Stakes ran on June 20 as the first leg of the Triple Crown instead of the last. The race, won by Tiz the Law, was shortened to a mile and an eighth rather than its traditional mile and a half.

Live racing at Canterbury Park in Shakopee returned in June for a 52-day racing schedule. Running Aces harness track in Columbus opened its stable area and resumed racing on June 20 with a 50-day schedule.

And after initially saying that Canterbury would only be allowed to race without spectators, Gov. Walz announced that up to 250 fans can be in attendance.

Canterbury attendance is by invitation only, for the time being, but people can place self-service walk-up bets outside the track.

AUTO RACING

NASCAR

Targeted return date: Racing has resumed

NASCAR was the first major sports organization in North America to return to action. They have also allowed different levels of fan attendance. At the Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, 1,000 first responders and military families attended the event. At the NASCAR All-Star Race on July 16, at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee, 20,000 fans were allowed in attended at the track, which can hold 140,000.

IndyCar

Targeted return date: Racing has resumed

The series returned with the Genesys 300 on June 7. After sharing a July weekend of racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with NASCAR (above), IndyCar will have four races in eight days starting July 11 at Road America in Wisconsin.

The Indianapolis 500 was not be held on Memorial Day weekend and instead will be Aug. 23. It will be the first time in the race’s history it will not be in the month of May.

Formula One

Targeted return date: Racing has resumed

The first 10 races of the season were postponed or canceled, including the Monaco Grand Prix in May. Formula One came back Sunday with a race in Austria, and will hold another one there next weekend. Eight races in Europe have been scheduled so far, with the early events without fans in attendance.

NHRA

Targeted return date: Racing has resumed

The drag racing series resumed on July 11 at the NHRA Mellow Yellow at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. But on Friday the series announced that the NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, set for Aug. 13-16, is postponed.

OLYMPICS

Targeted return date: July 23, 2021

The Summer Olympics in Tokyo, scheduled for July 24-Aug 9, were postponed and will instead begin July 23, 2021. The Olympics were previously canceled because of wars, but they had never been postponed.

CYCLING 

Targeted return date: Racing has resumed

The International Cycling Union announced a revised schedule, and the first event to take place was the Slovenian National Championships on June 21.

The three biggest races in cycling — the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana — are scheduled to take place over a 72-day span between August and November. The stretch starts with the Tour de France on Aug. 29 in Nice.

“If we manage to have all these races as planned, we will be very happy,” UCI president David Lappartient said in conference call. “This is the ambition we have.”

The major races on the women’s circuit have also been maintained, and the UCI announced the debut of a female Paris-Roubaix on Oct. 25 — the same day as the men’s event.

MIXED MARTIAL ARTS

Targeted return date: Matches have resumed

UFC returned on May 9, and the organization has hosted several events since then. UFC 250 took place on Saturday in Las Vegas with increased virus testing in place.

UFC 251 took place on “Fight Island” in the United Arab Emirates on July 11 with three other fight nights scheduled to take place on the island.

Canceled sports/events

The minor league baseball season, American Hockey League, National Women’s Hockey League, XFL, New York City Marathon, Boston Marathon, Little League World Series and American Legion baseball season, have all been canceled.

Correction: Previous versions of this article misstated the day of Nascar’s race at Darlington Raceway.