NCAA Cancels All Winter, Spring Championships, Including Men’s Basketball Tournament, Due To Coronavirus Pandemic
The NCAA has announced that all of its winter and spring championships — including the 2020 men’s basketball tournament — have been canceled as a preventative measure against the coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” the NCAA said in a release. “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.”
This marks the first-ever outright cancellation of the NCAA tournament, as a champion has been crowned every year since the tournament’s inception in 1939. The cancellation follows previous decisions of the tournament being played without fans in attendance, and the NBA suspending its season following Wednesday night’s games.
Penn State basketball was standing face-to-face with its first tournament bid since 2011, following a dream season which included the team entering the AP rankings for the first time since 1996. A solid 21-10 finish for the Nittany Lions was poised to be more than enough for an at-large March Madness bid, if not for a Big Ten tournament championship.
Additionally, Penn State hockey was poised to play in the NCAA tournament’s midwest region in Allentown as its designated host. The team is ranked No. 7 in the PairWise rankings and was a virtual lock to qualify for the tournament with either an automatic or at-large bid.
Penn State wrestling also had five top-five seeds in this year’s NCAA tournament, which was set to take place in Minneapolis.
The Big Ten’s men’s basketball tournament was also canceled on Thursday due to the same concerns surrounding the coronavirus. Penn State was poised to play Indiana in the second round of the tournament on Thursday night.
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