The 2020 NCAA tournament is canceled.
The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments became the latest sporting events to get erased from the American sports calendar. The NCAA’s decision to cancel was officially announced on Thursday afternoon. The global world of sports has been flipped upside down the past 24 hours in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The NCAA announced on Wednesday that fans wouldn’t be in attendance for March Madness in 2020. Mounting pressure and additional information on the global pandemic forced the NCAA to make an unprecedented decision to cancel.
“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 decision by other entities,” the NCAA said in a statement.
Conference tournaments were all canceled earlier on Thursday. The college basketball season is abruptly over in the middle of the busiest weekend of the season. This will be the first time the NCAA tournament hasn’t crowned a men’s basketball national champion since the inaugural year when Oregon won in 1939.
All other remaining winter and spring NCAA championships were also canceled in the NCAA’s decision.
The 2020 NCAA tournament getting canceled is one of the more shocking sports decisions in recent memory. Major League Baseball (1994) and the National Hockey League (2005) have gone seasons without crowning champions. But those were due to work stoppages and labor disagreements. Major sports championships being canceled due to a global pandemic is uncharted territory. It’ll be fascinating to see what comes next in college basketball.