2020 NCAA Tournament canceled due to growing threat of coronavirus pandemic

Author: CBS SPORTS
Published:

In a historic move, the 2020 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has been canceled over concerns of the spreading coronavirus (COVID-19). It is the first time the NCAA Tournament will not be held since it began in 1939.

“Today, NCAA president Mark Emmert and the board of governors canceled the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships,” the NCAA announced. “This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to the spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decision by other entities.”

The cancelation affects all NCAA championships in the winter and spring, including the women’s basketball tournament, College World Series and Women’s College World Series. It comes just one day after the NCAA announced that it would go on with the¬†NCAA Tournament¬†but would do so without allowing the general public to attend.

In the aftermath of that decision — effectively an unprecedented no-spectator policy for March Madness — conferences across the country began following suit. All seven major conferences in the sport announced shortly thereafter that postseason tournaments would proceed as scheduled with only student-athletes, coaches, limited family and essential personnel allowed to attend starting Thursday.

However, every major conference canceled its league basketball tournament in a sweeping set of announcements earlier Thursday. Conferences then began canceling participation of all spring sports on and off campuses.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) was deemed a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday.

As consequential as the NCAA’s decision to cancel its tournament, it is certainly not standing alone. The¬†NBA¬†suspended its season Wednesday amidst coronavirus fears. The MLS and¬†NHL¬†followed suit on Thursday with MLB deciding to delay the start to its season. Numerous other sports organizations canceled, suspended or postponed their events as well.

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