College basketball’s major conference tournaments that were scheduled to be played on Thursday have been cancelled.
The American, ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and the SEC all announced they wouldn’t be playing events shortly before tip. The leagues made the decision within the final hour before tips were scheduled to begin this afternoon. The Big East played the first half of its quarterfinal matchup between Creighton and St. John’s and cancelled the tournament at halftime.
With the NCAA banning fans from the 2020 men’s and women’s NCAA tournament yesterday, it set in motion changes across the sport. Most of the conferences tried to give Thursday games a go with no fans and empty arenas. Things changed quickly once a few conferences started to cancel.
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It set across sweeping change to the sport’s busiest weekend. And potentially altering the course for next week’s NCAA tournament.
In a statement released on Wednesday afternoon, NCAA president Mark Emmert laid the groundwork for today’s decision.
“I have made the decision to conduct our upcoming championship events,” Emmert said, “including the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, with only essential staff and limited family attendance.”
The COVID-19 Advisory Panel put in place by the NCAA also released a statement on the matter, saying that they “recognize the fluidity” of the situation and they “recommend against sporting events open to the public.”
“We do believe sport events can take place with only essential personnel and limited family attendance, and this protects our players, employees, and fans,” the panel’s statement said.