Illustration for article titled March Madness the Latest in Coronavirus Cancellations
Photo: Maddie Meyer (Getty Images)

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has set off an unprecedented streak of cancellations. The NBA and NHL have all suspended their seasons and now the NCAA is the next sports organization to follow suit.

The Detroit Free Press reports that as a result of the ongoing outbreak, the NCAA has cancelled all remaining tournaments for the academic year including March Madness. The announcement comes after it was reported yesterday that the games would be played in empty arenas. Before the cancellation was announced, Duke and University of Kansas put out statements saying they would not be participating in the tournament. The NCAA released the following statement regarding the cancellation:

“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. 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.”

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The BIG 10, Ivy League and other collegiate conferences have all announced cancellations of their tournaments as well.

The cancellation of March Madness is only the latest event to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last night, the NBA announced that it had suspended the current season after a player tested positive for the virus. The NHL and MLS announced that they too had suspended operations. Thankfully, we’re black so those didn’t hit as hard. The MLB announced today that they would be delaying opening day by at least two weeks. The XFL is set to hold games in front of empty crowds this weekend. No one was watching anyway so this shouldn’t be too big of a change of pace.

Two of the biggest events currently in limbo as a result of the ongoing pandemic are the Tokyo Olympics and WrestleMania 36. Both are massive events that attract huge crowds from all around the world. The exact kind of thing that can make situations like this even worse.

WrestleMania is set to be held in Tampa Bay at the beginning of April and officials there have met to discuss measures that should be taken. They are set to reconvene in a week to assess the situation and decide whether to cancel the event. Given that the city has cancelled events that don’t involve 75,000 people traveling from all over the world to see The Fiend take a five knuckle shuffle from John Cena, expect Wrestlemania to be next on the cancellation block. 

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The Olympic flame was lit this week in a closed door ceremony with no fans in attendance. The fate of this year’s games is currently in flux with a decision to be made possibly as late as May.

While it’s truly a bummer that so many traditions that folks look forward to are being cancelled as a result of the pandemic, it’s a positive sign that the situation is being taken seriously. Hopefully, these moves will result in the spread of the virus being slowed. Remember folks, cover your mouths, wash your hands and stay home if you can. There’s hella shows on Netflix to watch and if you’re anything like me, you’ve got a hefty backlog of video games to get through. 

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Stay healthy out there, y’all.

Jr Staff Writer @TheRoot. Watcher of wrestling, player of video games. Mr. Steal Your Disney+ Password.

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