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The NCAA announced Thursday it has canceled the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournament over the coronavirus outbreak.
College athletics’ governing body made the decision to cancel the event hours after several conferences decided to cancel their own respective men’s and women’s tournaments due to the outbreak. Additionally, all other winter and spring sports championships were canceled.
“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 statement read.
Duke University and the University of Kansas were the first two schools to announce they were suspending athletic competition indefinitely. Although they didn’t specify whether it involved the basketball tournaments or not, the NCAA made that decision for them later in the day. The SEC and Mountain West Conference were among the leagues to cancel competitions league-wide.
There have been more than 1,300 coronavirus cases in the U.S. across 46 states and Washington D.C. At least 37 people have died from the virus.
The NCAA took the next step in canceling the entire tournament, breaking from the NBA, NHL and MLS who suspended their seasons and MLB, which canceled spring training games and delayed Opening Day.