Cowboys wrestling-Bridges (copy)

University of Wyoming redshirt junior Montorie Bridges, right, greets his teammates during introductions before a dual Feb. 8 against Oklahoma State at Arena-Auditorium. Wrestling is one of the sports affected by UW’s announcement that spring sporting events would be canceled amid the coronavirus scare.

LARAMIE – All spring athletic events at the University of Wyoming have been canceled due to the threat from COVID-19 (coronavirus), a spokesperson in the athletic department confirmed with WyoSports Thursday evening.

The Mountain West Conference announced earlier that it had canceled all of its spring athletic events, and any upcoming conference championships.

Practices such as spring football have not yet been canceled, and whether or not they will remains to be determined, a spokesman told WyoSports. UW is scheduled to start spring football practice on March 24.

An indefinite moratorium has also been placed on on-campus and off-campus recruiting activities within the conference.

Sports at UW affected by the move include wrestling, swimming and diving, track and field, golf and women's tennis.

In a somewhat stunning move, the NCAA announced Thursday afternoon that all of its winter and spring championships, including the men's and women's basketball tournaments and College World Series, have been canceled. All major college basketball conference tournaments, including ones that were in-progress, also were canceled.

"There are other questions that cannot be answered at this time surrounding the rapidly changing situation. As future decisions are made, UW Athletics will share that information," a statement earlier in the day read. "All decisions made by University of Wyoming Athletics regarding the COVID-19 situation will focus on the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans."

COVID-19 – coronavirus disease 2019 – first appeared in Wuhan, China in late 2019 and was classified as a pandemic Wednesday. It is a respiratory virus that may not show symptoms until two weeks after initial exposure. Symptoms include shortness of breath, fever, cough, pain in the chest and bluish lips/face, per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Thursday, UW announced that its spring break would be lengthened an extra week, and it is possible that classes will be held online rather than in-person when school resumes March 30.

The news of cancellations in college sports comes on the heels of the suspension of the NBA season late Wednesday night. The MLB, NHL, MLS and ATP have also suspended operations.

The Oklahoma City Thunder-Utah Jazz game Wednesday night was postponed after a player on the Jazz – center Rudy Golbert – tested positive for the virus. That diagnosis led the NBA to suspend its season indefinitely. Golbert's teammate, Donovan Mitchell, also tested positive for the virus.

The first case of COVID-19 in Wyoming was confirmed Wednesday in Sheridan County.

"These changes are based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat and the ability to ensure the events do not contribute to the spread of the pandemic," the Mountain West said in a statement. "The health and well-being of student-athletes, as well as the campus and general communities, is of utmost priority."

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