The 2020 NCAA Tournament has officially been canceled due to the Coronavirus Outbreak that has begun to affect people in the United States. The NCAA did not make the decision lightly and originally announced they’d play without fans in the arenas. This news came after the NBA suspended their season and schools like Duke and Kansas suspended sports activities.
The NCAA has canceled the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments and March Madness.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 12, 2020
It is important to remember that this is largely for the safety of the public and the player involved in the Tournament. This situation was fast-moving and incredibly hard to predict. The results are fairly devastating to players that worked hard all season, especially the seniors on the teams that would have made the 2020 NCAA Tournament. There is some hope on that front though as one idea was pushed by Oklahoma State Head Coach Mike Boynton.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton:
“Seniors, if they want, should have another year. Special permission on scholarship numbers for an unprecedented circumstance. Next year only.”
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) March 12, 2020
Several coaches expressed frustration over the NCAA deciding to cancel the 2020 NCAA Tournament instead of just postponing it and reassessing the situation in a few weeks. The end result is we will not be getting a March Madness in 2020. It is unclear how the NCAA will handle the fallout from this decision.
The NCAA’s initial statement was posted on their website:
“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. 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 decisions by other entities.”
The decision doesn’t seem t be a popular one, but the statement “bigger than sports” seems fitting in this situation. The health of the fans and the players have to be the number one priority for the NCAA.