Events in area also affected

The suspension and/or cancellation of most of the nation’s major sports leagues due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus hit the sports world like an earthquake on Thursday.

Closer to home, the effect also will be felt in the weeks to come.

Among cancellations and postponements reported to the Tribune Chronicle / Vindicator are the suspension of the United States Hockey League, including the Youngtown Phantoms; the postponement of all Ohio High School Athletic Association winter sports tournament contests; the postponement of the Curbstone Coaches “meet and greet” event with new Youngstown State football coach Doug Phillips; the postponement of the Trumbull County Coaches Association Basketball Players of the Year banquet; and the postponement of senior all-star games in Trumbull (Frank Bubba Classic) and Mahoning (Al Beach Classic) counties.

In addition, the Ohio Athletic Conference, which includes Mount Union in Alliance and John Carroll and Baldwin Wallace in the Cleveland area, not only has canceled the remainder of the winter sports season, it also has canceled the 2020 spring sports season.

The USHL announced Thursday its decision to suspend game play effective immediately and until further notice. All hockey activities, including practices, workouts and meetings also have been suspended until further notice. The league said it will monitor the situation before determining next steps regarding the season.

Games scheduled for tonight and Saturday have been postponed. Fans with Youngstown Phantoms tickets for tonight and-or Saturday are asked to bring in their tickets to the box office starting next Wednesday, March 18. The tickets can be exchanged for ticket voucher(s) to a future Phantoms game in April or in the 2020-21 season.

Those with questions can contact the Phantoms by email at info@youngstownphantoms.com.

Besides the girls basketball state tournament, which was halted just before it got started on Thursday afternoon, the OHSAA postponed, effective Thursday, state tournaments in wrestling and ice hockey, and regional tournament games in boys basketball.

“We will use this time to work with the appropriate state authorities and health experts to determine our next steps moving forward,” OHSAA commissioner Jerry Snodgrass said. “We realize this is disappointing for our participants and their fans, but the overall health and safety of everyone involved in our tournaments is our priority.”

No timetable has been determined for possible rescheduling for the tournaments.

The OHSAA will send further updates regarding ticket refunds.

The Curbstone Coaches event with YSU football coach Phillips was scheduled for Monday. It is expected that the event will be rescheduled.

The same is true of the TCCA Players of the Year banquet which was planned for March 22.

The two all-star games, however, have been canceled and will not be rescheduled.

The OAC university presidents cited the health and safety of students and communities when voting to cancel the spring sports season.

The league’s statement read in part: “In an effort to protect the health and safety of all of our students and the communities we serve, the Presidents Council of the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) has voted to cancel all 2020 spring sports seasons, effective March 16 through the remainder of the academic year. This includes all athletically-related activities as defined by the NCAA. In addition, all meetings, practices and other off-season activities for other sports have also been cancelled.

While we recognize the profound disappointment that will be felt by the many student-athletes, parents, fans and coaches, the ongoing spread and uncertainty of COVID-19 have made the continuation of athletic activities untenable.”

The statement also said the Conference will appeal to the NCAA to regain a season of eligibility and an extra semester to participate for all spring student-athletes who have participated thus far at OAC member institutions.


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