ACC and SEC join other Power Five in canceling spring sports

The Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference canceled all spring athletic competitions Tuesday due to the coronavirus, joining the Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 in putting an end to their sports seasons.

The ACC last week suspended all its athletic activities indefinitely, not long after it canceled it men’s basketball tournament. It took the next step Tuesday and shut everything down, putting an end to any possibility of schools holding spring football practice.

A few hours later, the SEC became the last of the Power Five conferences to cancel all spring sports competitions, including spring football games and football pro scouting days. The SEC’s suspension of athletic-related activities, including individual and team practices, remains in place through at least April 15.

The status of the other FBS conference’s athletic competition and activity:

Big Ten — All competition canceled. All organized team activities have been suspended until April 6, 2020 and will be re-evaluated at that time.

Big 12 — All competition canceled. All team activities, organized or voluntary, have been suspended until March 29 and will be re-evaluated at that time.

Pac-12 — All competition canceled. All organized team athletically related activities have been suspended until March 29 and will be re-evaluated at that time.

American Athletic Conference — All competition canceled. All schools have ceased practicing.

Conference USA — All competition canceled.

Mountain West — All competition canceled. All organized team athletically related activities have been suspended until March 29 and will be re-evaluated at that time.

Mid-American Conference — All competition canceled. Formal and organized practices suspended.

Sun Belt — All competition and teams activities canceled.

St. Louis MLS franchise gets $5.7M in tax breaks

St. Louis’ Major League Soccer franchise on Tuesday received $5.7 million in state tax credits to help pay for the construction of a soccer complex on the western edge of downtown.

The Missouri Development Finance Board voted unanimously to give the team’s ownership group the tax break, three months after Gov. Mike Parson’s administration blocked the project from receiving $30 million in tax credits, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

“I feel a lot better about this project,” said board chairwoman Marie Carmichael. “It is certainly more doable.”

The agreement will help the team’s owners pay for the rerouting and installation of utilities.

Although board treasurer John Mehner voted in favor of the project, he raised concerns about beginning it at a time when the world is battling the coronavirus.

He suggested waiting at least two months before taking actions on the tax credits.

“I’m worried about the optics, and whether this is the exact right time to take action,” he said.

Otis Williams, director of St. Louis’ Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, urged the board for its approval so that stadium could be ready for the start of the 2022 season.

Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, who sits on the development board, said he views the board’s action as sending a signal to people dealing with the coronavirus outbreak that the state is committed to job creation.

“We want people to understand we will get through this,” Kehoe told board members.

Earnhardt, Busch sign on for NASCAR esports series

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch and other NASCAR drivers have signed on to race in an exhibition esports series while their cars are kept off the tracks amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

NASCAR and iRacing announced the formation of the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series on Tuesday night, trying to give fans alternative viewing with the NASCAR season on hold until at least May 3.

The multi-week series will start Sunday with a virtual competition at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Remaining races and broadcast details are expected to be announced at a later date.

Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell will also be among those competing. A one-off simulation event was held last weekend after a race at Atlanta Motor Speedway was postponed. Josh Williams, spotter for Ryan Blaney, won that race, which also featured Earnhardt and Hamlin.

“Until we have cars back on track, the entire NASCAR community has aligned to provide our passionate fans with a unique, fun and competitive experience on race day,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR’S vice president of racing development. “Our longtime partners at iRacing offer an incredible product and we are excited to see how many of our best drivers will stack up in the virtual domain of competitive racing.”

Nets say 4 players test positive for new coronavirus

Four Brooklyn Nets players have tested positive for the new coronavirus, bringing the total to seven known players in the NBA.

The team announced Tuesday that one player is exhibiting symptoms, while the other three are asymptomatic. All four players have been isolated and are under the care of team physicians.

Kevin Durant later confirmed to The Athletic he was one of the four players to test positive.

The Nets added that all players and members of their travel party are being asked to remain isolated and closely monitor their health.

Brooklyn last played on March 10 in Los Angeles, beating the Lakers. The Nets were then to face the Golden State Warriors two nights later in San Francisco before the NBA season was suspended after Utah’s Rudy Gobert tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Jazz teammate Donovan Mitchell and Detroit’s Christian Wood are the other players who have tested positive.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.

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