NCAA Cancels March Madness, Remaining Championships

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For the first time since 1939, the NCAA will not crown a men’s basketball champion.

After a cascade of conference tournament cancelations in the wake of the escalating coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA officially made the decision to call off its remaining winter and spring sports championships — including the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments.

The news came in the form of a brief statement.

“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 news release on Thursday. 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.”

According to USA Today, this represents the first time since postseason play began in 1939 that the NCAA won’t award a men’s basketball championship — and the first time a women’s champion won’t be crowned since the NCAA took over the women’s tournament in the 1981-82 season.

In addition to sacrificing basketball, collegiate wrestling, men’s and women’s hockey, baseball, softball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and many more sports championships were all called off. With the championships canceled, many athletic conferences made the decision to suspend all spring sports competition, including the ACC, American, Atlantic Sun, Big 12, Big South, Big West, Conference USA, Colonial, Missouri Valley, Mountain West, NEC, Southland, Summit, Sun Belt, SWAC and WAC, according to ESPN. Those suspensions have a chance of being lifted, depending on how the situation unfolds. Meanwhile, entities including the America East, Big East, Big Ten, Ivy League, MAAC, MEAC, the Patriot League and Stanford, independent of the rest of the Pac-12, called off spring athletic competition entirely — meaning that collegiate sports is essentially over for them until Fall.  

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