As of now, it’s officially the offseason for college athletics. Or it might as well be, anyway.
The NCAA announced on Thursday afternoon that the upcoming men’s and women’s NCAA Tournament in basketball has been canceled due to the health concerns of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. The NCAA is also canceling all remaining spring and winter NCAA championship events.
“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 release. “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.”
Not only does this affect the postseasons of college basketball, but it affects sports such as gymnastics, baseball, softball, and many others. As of right now, the College World Series in both baseball and softball will not be held, and the gymnastics championships, college hockey postseason, and other postseasons will not be held.
For Tennessee, this has a huge impact on both the Lady Vols basketball team and the Tennessee baseball team.
The Lady Vols were projected to make the NCAA Tournament under first-year head coach Kellie Harper, but now there will be no field for them to earn a bid to this year. In baseball, Tennessee’s team was looking like a strong contender in the SEC, going 15-2 to start the year and gearing up for SEC play this upcoming weekend.
Now, none of that matters.
It was announced earlier in the day that all spring athletics across UT’s campus were being suspended through the rest of the month. Now, it appears the remaining baseball and softball seasons will be terminated.
The SEC has said that they are open to still having their seasons after March 30th, but that decision will be reached at a future date.
On Thursday morning, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey announced that the remainder of the SEC Tournament would be canceled just about an hour and a half before Tennessee and Alabama tipped off at 1:00 PM Eastern in Nashville. Later in the day, Sankey and the SEC offices announced a suspension on recruiting visits and recruiting efforts in general in football and all major sports.
As of today, Tennessee’s football team is still going through spring practices as planned. The Vols held practice today, though it was completely closed off to the media. UT’s spring break is next week, and the football team had next week off because of that. It remains to be seen if practices will resume once spring break is over.
Other schools across the country have already canceled their spring games and postponed or outright canceled practices.
There’s no word from the NCAA if any of the spring or winter championships will be held eventually or if the baseball and softball seasons will eventually resume. As of right now, it appears those championships are completely canceled with no plan to hold them at a later date.
We will update as more info is released.