The NCAA announced Thursday that all remaining championship events for winter and spring sports have been canceled in response to the recent outbreak of COVID-19.
“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 press release.
The decision comes after athletics organizations across the country suspended activities. In addition to professional leagues like the NBA, MLB, MLS and NHL, a number of NCAA conferences and programs — including the ACC and Virginia Athletics — also canceled all activities for the foreseeable future.
The NCAA previously announced Wednesday that the championship events would continue as scheduled, but with attendance restricted to essential staff and family. However, after further deliberation, the NCAA changed its decision and canceled all upcoming events.
According to the NCAA, the championship competitions could not be postponed due to scheduling conflicts with other organizations.
“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,” the NCAA said.
The NCAA’s decision is unprecedented. For example, the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament — which averaged 10.5 million viewers and generated $933 million in advertising revenue last year — has never been canceled since its inception in 1939.
Affected Virginia sports include swimming and diving, wrestling, basketball, squash, track and field, tennis, baseball, softball, lacrosse and golf.