There will not be “one shining moment” this March.
The 2020 men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments, as well as all other remaining winter and spring championships, have been canceled, the NCAA announced Thursday.
The NBA made a swift decision in postponing their season upon learning Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 also known as coronavirus. The NBA G League was also suspended. The NCAA dragged their feet long enough, even considering playing tournaments without fans in attendance; finally, the safe decision was made.
“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 statement. “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 year the NCAA tournament has not been played since its inception in 1939. That year, the event featured only eight teams, and Oregon beat Ohio State to win the first championship.
The message to cancel may have been sent from two big-name basketball programs. Duke University and the University of Kansas suspended all athletic activities due to the coronavirus.
I can imagine the group of Presidents in that room, it probably got emotional,” Kentucky wildcats head coach John Calipari said on ESPN. “They care about student-athletes. They care about their students just like we care about our players.”
Thursday, all of the scheduled men’s conference tournaments were canceled due to coronavirus concerns.
Emmert told Sports Illustrated and The Athletic in an exclusive sit-down interview that the “one thing we have to make sure of is that these young men and women get to compete in a championship.” That appears to no longer be the case.
Before canceling the tournament in its entirety, the NCAA was already exploring some bad ideas. The possibility of moving the Final Four out of Atlanta. It additionally looked at potentially moving its regional finals to new locations.
“I got calls from other coaches where their seniors were balling in tears,” Calipari added. “We don’t get the chance to do this.”
Globally, the spread of coronavirus has had a significant impact on countless other sporting events throughout the world. The World Health Organization declared a pandemic on Wednesday. There are more than 130,000 confirmed cases of the virus across at least 111 countries and counting.
The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament is responsible for more than 80% of the association’s annual revenue was canceled and the related funds for the event’s TV rights voided.
“How about the last time playing is not you walking off the court. Your last time playing is prior because it got yanked from you like this.” Calipari said. “It was not anyone’s fault it had to be done.”
Now the future.
My empathy lies with the players who will miss out on what might have been one of their lives’ most meaningful moments, The NCAA made the right decision in an impossibly difficult situation and should be lauded for it.
When will college sports resume, when is the NBA draft for the college men? The coronavirus has created a dark hallway the world in walking down; there is not a shining moment or light yet to be seen.