The Ivy League is cancelling their conference tournament due to the spread of coronavirus, the conference announced on Tuesday morning.
“We understand and share the disappointment with student-athletes, coaches and fans who will not be able to participate in these tournaments,” Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris said. “Regrettably, the information and recommendations presented to us from public health authorities and medical professionals have convinced us that this is the most prudent decision.”
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Yale, the league’s regular season men’s champion, will be heading to the men’s NCAA tournament. Harvard, Penn and Brown will see their season come to an end.
Princeton will receive the automatic bid to the women’s NCAA tournament.
“NCAA member schools and conferences make their own decisions regarding regular season and conference tournament play,” NCAA president Mark Emmett said. “As we have stated, we will make decisions on our events based on the best, most current public health guidance available. Neither the NCAA COVID-19 advisory panel, made up of leading public health and infectious disease experts in America, nor the CDC or local health officials have advised against holding sporting events. In the event circumstances change, we will make decisions accordingly.”
This is the first Division I basketball tournament that has been cancelled, but it is not the first sporting event that will not be taking place. Tennis tournaments have been called off, European soccer leagues are shutting down and even in the college basketball ranks, Chicago State opted not to play games at Seattle or Utah Valley last week due to concerns over the virus.
The major question now centers on what happens next. The major conference tournaments start on Tuesday. Fans have purchased tickets, made travel arrangements and, if they need to, have paid for lodging. Those events run through the entire week. The NCAA tournament will start the week after that, and the money that comes in from the NCAA’s TV deal with CBS and Turner funds more than 85 percent of their operating budget for the year.
A decision is going to be made soon on what will happen. Will the events get cancelled? Will they be played without fans in attendance? Will they be moved to a centralized location?
I don’t know.
What I do know is that the Ivy League is not the last coronavirus announcement we are going to get this week.