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The NCAA has Decided to Cancel Conference Tournaments and March Madness Tournament

With the continual threat and spread of the strain of the coronavirus known as Covid-19 breaking news continues to pour in especially regarding sporting events worldwide. The most drastic measures taken in attempt to combat this pandemic revolve around the great sport of basketball both professionally as well as on the collegiate level.

As the NCAA college basketball conference tournaments began the infiltration of the coronavirus starting spreading freely across the United States of America. By Wednesday, March 11th, 2020 the NCAA was prepared and planning on playing college basketball games as scheduled, but without fans in attendance.

Immediate Cancellations

Then later on the same night the scare of Covid-19 became real when the National Basketball Association released a statement revealing that one of their players tested positive for the coronavirus. By Thursday, March 12th, 2020 the dominos of sporting events getting cancelled began to fall. The NBA cancelled the rest of the regular season quickly followed by the NCAA cancelling their conference tournaments. The NHL also cancelled the remainder of their regular season for the time being as well.

The most devastating new came as the NCAA publicly announced that the men’s and women’s March Madness Tournaments were cancelled as opposed to being postponed at least momentarily. This news was understood to a certain degree, but not well received especially by the individuals and organizations that were closest to the game of college basketball. This ripped the heart out of players, coaches, athletic directors, and fans across the country and the world for that matter.

Alternative March Madness Format was Considered

 There was discussion and thought behind a possibility of holding a 16 team NCAA men’s March Madness Tournamentwith no fans spectating. The idea was formulated and presented to the selection committee, but this proposal was quickly dismissed by the key decision makers in the matter.

It would have most likely been stopped as soon as one of the players, coaches, or other personnel contracted the coronavirus. It was recently brought to my attention that an official who was calling the men’s CAA conference tournament in Washington D.C. had tested positive for Covid-19. It was only a matter of time until the college basketballseason tragically was disrupted permanently.

I do have to say I am very upset that they were so quick to call it off immediately and not simply postponing the March Madness Tourney in hopes things may get better soon. Now we have to move forward without one of the biggest and most profitable sporting events of the year. I strongly believe that the Kansas Jayhawks would have been

I can only imagine how much money was left on the table. People in the sports betting industry such as bookmakers are closing their doors now that the vast majority of sportsbooks do not have any services to provide their customers with at the moment. Let’s hope and pray this pandemic can be put behind us all very soon.

Media Statements

 “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 the academic year given the ongoing decisions by other entities,” says the NCAA in a released statement.

The NCAA has Decided to Cancel Conference Tournaments and March Madness Tournament

 “This has been the most extraordinary stretch of days I’ve ever had or ever seen in my 30-plus years of working in the sports business,” Big East commissioner Val Ackerman stated.

 “So you telling me I transferred to not play in the tournament,” the Gonzaga point guard Ryan Woolridge tweets.

 “Surprised that we’ve made a decision now in mid-March to not play baseball or softball national championship events [scheduled for June]. So I look forward to learning what informed that decision. I know what’s informed our decisions over the last day and a half or so, but the news from the NCAA we were waiting on — on the basketball tournaments and some of the championships happening now — but obviously, there was the decision to go further,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey explained.

 “While we are obviously disappointed that our season has ended abruptly, we also recognize that this decision was made for a greater good,” coach Casey Alexander said.

 “I respect the NCAA’s decision to put everyone’s safety first,” tweets Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley. “That said, every team deserves recognition for their season’s success. Brackets should still be announced on Selection Sunday.”

 Greg Sands tweeted: “Love for the @NCAA to come look in the eyes of my players right now.  You have ripped the heart and soul out of these guys!  Why are you cancelling season so prematurely?  Can we suspend the season 2-4 weeks and see what happens? We play an outside sport with little spectators!”

 I’m heartbroken for everyone associated with our program, especially our five seniors,” Forbes expressed. “[These] young men dedicated their lives to have the opportunity to represent ETSU in the NCAA tournament and it’s now been taken away from them at no fault of their own. While I wholeheartedly support this decision, I would like to be a part of the conversation, in conjunction with the Southern Conference and the NCAA, in giving our five seniors another year of eligibility, so they once again have the opportunity turn their dreams into reality by having the chance to play in the NCAA tournament next year. I want to personally thank my team and our fans for the magical season that has now come to an end.”

 “This is a difficult time with so many conflicting emotions,” says Dawn Staley, coach of the South Carolina women’s basketball team. “First and foremost, we have to recognize how important it is to do the right thing for our community. Sports is a big part of our lives, but just one part of how we are connected to each other. We need to step back and think about the larger good served by canceling events that put people at risk.

 “As competitors, we are certainly disappointed that we will not have the opportunity to contend for a second National Championship. That said, it will not diminish the way we look at our season, how we value our body of work over the last four months. We have measured ourselves against the best in the country over that time, and will embrace and relish that accomplishment.”

 “I’m disappointed, but I totally understand. I really feel for the senior student-athletes; every student-athlete, but particularly the seniors because this is their last chance for the fans,” Oregon women’s coach Kelly Graves stated. “There’s something more important than the games going on. I’ve kind of come to grips to that a little more than a few hours ago.”

 “I’m overwhelmingly disappointed that our team won’t have the opportunity to finish what was arguably the best season in program history,” Baylor men’s coach Scott Drew proclaimed. “We were No. 1 for five weeks and were likely going to get a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, which is something we’ve worked for all season. To have that opportunity abruptly taken away by something out of our control is devastating for our team, coaches and fans.

 “At the same time, we will keep perspective on life’s greater challenges, continue to focus on using our platform to honor God, and we’ll keep everyone affected by this situation in our thoughts and prayers.”

 Devastating. Stunning,” UCLA baseball coach John Savage replied. “I feel for all the players. I feel for the coaches. I feel for all the programs that work so hard through the fall and January.”

 “To have such a decision to go down so quickly is just really hard to imagine,” Savage goes on to say. “I feel for the seniors across the country. It’s just a really, really sad day.”

 “It appears our ‘unfinished business’ will remain just that,” Graves writes. “Disappointed but I completely understand. I love & I hurt for my team.”

 Ryan Bamford tweeted: “Thinking about our winter & spring athletes & coaches that are seeing their seasons end w/ the NCAA news. No one likes things they can’t control & these decisions are gut-wrenching.

 To our spring sport seniors: in time, we will fight to reinstate your final year of eligibility.”