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NCAA cancels Big Dance over coronavirus concerns

Ohio State-Ohio State basketball-Buckeyes
The NCAA basketball tournament has been canceled. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Basketball

NCAA cancels Big Dance over coronavirus concerns

COLUMBUS — The NCAA has canceled its national basketball tournament amid concerns of the coronavirus outbreak.

The unprecedented move to cancel the billion-dollar, revenue-generating tournament comes Thursday after all conferences canceled their league tournaments Thursday. Professional leagues across the country have postponed or canceled operations, and now the NCAA is following suit.

The decision was made by the NCAA President Mark Emmert and the NCAA Board of Governors.

Other universities around the country are beginning to cancel spring football practice, classes and athletic events, as the United States and nations around the world come to grips with what the World Health Organization is declaring a global pandemic.

The NCAA Tournament is not the first event to be canceled, and it won’t be the last. The Big Ten also released a statement.

“The Big Ten Conference announced today that in addition to the Men’s Basketball Tournament it will be canceling all conference and non-conference competitions through the end of the academic year, including spring sports that compete beyond the academic year, and participation in all NCAA tournaments and competitions,” the conference said in a statement.

“In addition, the Conference has announced a moratorium on all on- and off-campus recruiting activities for the foreseeable future. The Big Ten Conference will use this time to work with the appropriate medical experts and institutional leadership to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. The main priority of the Big Ten Conference continues to be the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all developing and relevant information on the COVID-19 virus.”

Prior to Thursday’s announcement, Ohio State also announced Wednesday evening that the annual spring game, which was set for April 11, has been canceled due to the spread of COVID-19. Ohio State will also temporarily halt its spring recruiting season. Michigan, Illinois and Notre Dame have done the same. The football program will postpone all unofficial and official visits through April 20. The Buckeyes coaches will not go off-campus to recruit, in accordance with the university’s temporary travel restrictions.

The university also announced all sporting events on campus will be closed to the public, and tickets can be refunded through the athletic department.

Lettermen Row will continue to update any updates on Ohio State athletics and how the Buckeyes are impacted by the coronavirus as they develop.

Spencer Holbrook

Spencer Holbrook covers Ohio State football and basketball for Lettermen Row. A graduate of Ohio University's Scripps School of Journalism, he's in his second year covering the Buckeyes. He was previously the sports editor at Ohio's student newspaper, The Post, where he covered Ohio University football and men's basketball.