March is truly in a state of madness as the NCAA announced Thursday that the 2020 tournaments for men’s and women’s Division 1 basketball have been canceled due to concerns over the new coronavirus.
“The 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 NCCA said in a statement on the decision.
The news comes on the heels of the NBA suspending its season Wednesday after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus.
In the build-up to the NCAA’s decision to cancel to the tournament, the organization had announced Wednesday that March Madness would take place with limited spectators. Additionally, news broke Thursday of multiple conferences within college basketball — including the Big Ten, SEC and American — all canceling their postseason tournaments.
Duke and Kansas were among a handful of schools that issued statements on Thursday saying they were suspending all athletic activity, before the announcement was made by the NCAA regarding the college basketball tournament.
On Wednesday night in the Big Ten tournament, Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg became ill on the bench and had to go back to the locker room. He was later taken to the hospital and diagnosed with the common cold, but the situation led to the Nebraska players being kept in the locker room for a period before Hoiberg was confirmed as not having the coronavirus.
The NCAA men’s basketball tournament was set to take place in 13 U.S. cities before culminating with the Final Four in Atlanta.
According to a recent report from Yahoo Finance, March Madness brings in close to $1 billion in ad-revenue alone. The tournament is also projected to make up close to 75 percent of the NCAA’s total revenue in a calendar year.
Here are the cities that were scheduled to host games in this year’s tournament:
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