The NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments were cancelled on Thursday.
The announcement came from NCAA President Mark Emmert, citing the threat to public health caused by COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, as the reason behind the tournament’s prevention. Prior to this decision, the NCAA’s plan was to play the tournament with an audience limited to close family and media, taking place with no spectators.
All remaining winter and spring championships were cancelled:
“Today, NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors cancelled the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships," according to the statement.
"This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities.”
The decision followed the cancellation of several conference tournaments, the NBA postponing their season and Kansas and Duke, among other schools, ceasing all athletic activities.
March Madness’ cancellation is unprecedented. Since 1939, the NCAA has never cancelled the postseason.
“I’m obviously disappointed to have our season come to such an abrupt end,” MSU men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo said in a statement. “It goes without saying, this is something that none of us have ever experienced. I feel most for our seniors, for guys like Cassius and Kyle and Conner, who wanted to have one last shot at March Madness. Telling them their career was over was extremely emotional. But these are unprecedented times and some things are bigger than basketball. The primary concern for all of us is the health and well-being of our students-athletes, staff and fans.”
The announcement of no March Madness was followed by the cancellation of the Big Ten tournament, and all conference and non-conference competitions through the end of the school year.
The Big Ten’s statement included the cancellation of spring sport activities that last beyond the length of the school year.
All games and sport activities were put on halt for the “foreseeable future”, as both the NCAA and Big Ten monitor the development and relevant information regarding the COVID-19 virus.
UPDATE: As of Friday, March 13, the Big Ten has froze all organized team activities. The suspension stretches until April 6, when the Big Ten will reevaluate the situation.
The statement followed their previous announcement and included that they would be working on a plan of action, on how to handle the situation most appropriately:
"The Big Ten Conference will use this time to work with the appropriate medical experts and institutional leadership to determine the next steps for moving forward in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic."
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