In what can only be described as a landmark decision, the NCAA has decided to cancel their men’s and women’s division one basketball tournaments. The move came on Thursday afternoon after NCAA officials continued to meet with and gather information from top health officials.
Not only were the basketball tournaments canceled abruptly, but the NCAA also announced that all remaining winter and spring collegiate sports would be canceled. This rules out the possibility of both softball and baseball playing anymore in 2020 or competing at the World Series in June.
The threat of the coronavirus spread quickly through the sport of college basketball, but the Ivy League was the first to react to the threat. The Ivy League canceled both their men’s and women’s conference tournaments last week and rewarded the automatic bid to the regular-season league champion on both sides.
There was plenty of blowback from both members of the conference and members of the media, but it now appears that the Ivy League was ahead of the game.
The NCAA tried to stay ahead of this story by announcing early in the week that the men’s and women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament would be played without spectators. Only essential game personnel and credentialed media would be allowed to attend the NCAA Tournament games.
Most of the major conferences soon followed suit with their own conference tournaments, but they never made it that far.
Thursday morning saw the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big Ten Conference cancel the remainder of their men’s and women’s conference tournaments before play started for the day.
The other three power-five conferences soon followed, but not without some resistance. The Big East Conference actually began play on Thursday before canceling the first game of the day at halftime.
The NCAA announced on Thursday afternoon that the men’s and women’s NCAA Basketball Tournaments would be canceled, and not postponed. Several of the top coaches in the sport had pushed for a postponement in an effort to gather more information, but the NCAA decided to cancel the tournaments.
The NCAA also announced that all winter and spring championships in 2020 would be canceled as well. Most springs sports have been playing games for less than a month, but their season is now over.
This is the first time since 1939 that the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will not be played, and a champion will not be crowned. The Oregon Ducks won the first-ever national championship that season, and the Virginia Cavaliers will now be the first school to ever be the reigning champion for a two-year span.
The NCAA will be missing out on close to a billion dollars with the cancellation of the Men’s Basketball Tournament that is known as “March Madness.” CBS and Turner combine to pay the NCAA almost $800 million per year to have exclusive rights to the television broadcasts.
The Women’s Basketball Tournament first played in 1982, and it has grown in popularity and viewership in the last few seasons.
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