Coronavirus: NCAA cancels March Madness tournament

The NCAA has canceled both the men’s and women’s basketball championship tournaments.

“This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to 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 NCAA said in a prepared statement.

The NCAA also announced the cancellation of all other remaining winter and spring NCAA championships.

The NCAA announcement comes after the Atlantic 10 Conference and multiple other college basketball conferences cancelled their conference tournaments effective immediately due to the coronavirus outbreak this morning.

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“The decision to stop play, do our part, to be able to get through this period of time is something we had to do,” said A-10 Commissioner Bernadette McGlade. “I think we are addressing this virus in the most serious way.”

Shortly before scheduled noon tipoffs, the A-10, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, American Athletic, and other conferences all announced they were cancelling their conference tournaments amid the virus outbreak.

“This was a preventive decision, not a reactionary decision,” said Thorr Bjorn, chairman of A-10 athletic directors. “You always hate to have to pull people off the court.”

UMass Head Coach Matt McCall said he can only imagine how hard the tournament decision was for the University of Dayton to accept.

“The job that he’s done this year has been unbelievable,” McCall said about Dayton Head Coach Anthony Grant. “It can’t be easy for him.”

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The Dayton Flyers were scheduled to play in the A-10 tournament in Brooklyn, New York Friday at noon. Ohio State was scheduled to play Purdue today in Indianapolis.

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The Cincinnati Bearcats were scheduled to play tomorrow at noon, but their opponent was not yet determined.

The Mid American Conference, playing in Cleveland, also decided to cancel the remainder of their tournament.