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Just a day after the NCAA announced that conference tournaments would continue on without paid fans in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, several of the conferences moved to cancel altogether.
NCAA president Mark Emmert issued a statement on Wednesday announcing that championship events would continue but “with only essential staff and limited family attendance” as COVID-19 continues to impact sporting events across the globe.
“This decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of coaches, administrators, fans and, most importantly, our student-athletes,” he said. “We recognize the opportunity to compete in an NCAA national championship is an experience of a lifetime for the students and their families.”
But on Thursday, several conferences announced that they would be canceling their tournaments — some just hours away from the opening rounds.
Here are the conferences that have canceled championship tournaments for the 2019-2020 season:
BIG 12 CONFERENCE:
Commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced Thursday that the Big 12 has canceled the men’s and women’s basketball tournament in order to minimize the spread of COVID-19, despite no players or coaches testing positive for the illness, according to the Kansas City Star.
“I feel terrible for the seniors that are involved in this tournament,” he said. “I feel particularly bad for the players… in the interest in heeding the advice we were hearing … cancellation was the right outcome.”
The Southeastern Conference took to Twitter Thursday to announce it would be canceling the remainder of the men’s tournament despite starting a day earlier.
“Based on the latest developments and the continued spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Southeastern Conference today announced the cancellation of the remainder of the 2020 Men's Basketball Tournament in Nashville,” the statement read.
BIG 10 CONFERENCE:
The Big 10 Conference issued a statement on Thursday announcing it would be canceling the men’s basketball tournament “effective immediately.”
“The main priority of the Big Ten Conference continues to be the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all developing and relevant information on the COVID-19 virus,” the statement read.
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE:
Commissioner Mike Aresco announced Thursday that the men’s basketball championship, scheduled to take place just hours later, would be canceled.
“The decision was made in consultation with the Conference’s leadership in light of recent developments regarding the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This is a proactive decision to protect the safety, health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff and all involved with the tournament,” a statement posted to the official website read.
ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE:
Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade issued a statement on Thursday announcing that the men’s basketball championship tournament, set to be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, would be canceled.
“These are uncertain times for sure, and we feel tremendous empathy for the student-athletes who will not have the opportunity to finish competing. However, the welfare of the student-athletes and the public is of utmost importance,” her statement read.
Conference USA announced in a brief statement that it would be canceling both the men’s and women’s basketball championship tournaments “effective immediately.”
Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher held a press conference Thursday announcing that they would be canceling both the men’s and women’s basketball championship tournaments.
WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE:
After initially suspending the championship tournaments, the Western Athletic Conference announced Thursday that it would be canceling them altogether.
“The Western Athletic Conference has announced the cancellation of the Hercules Tires WAC Basketball Tournaments presented by TicketSmarter. This decision has been made based upon new information, including the recommendation of the NCAA's COVID-19 advisory panel,” the statement read.
THE IVY LEAGUE:
The Ivy League announced Wednesday that in addition to canceling the championship tournaments, they would be canceling all spring athletics practice and competition through the remainder of the academic year.
“In accordance with the guidance of public health and medical professionals, several Ivy League institutions have announced that students will not return to campus after spring break, and classes will be held virtually during the semester. Given this situation, it is not feasible for practice and competition to continue,” a statement posted to the official website read.