In a rapidly developing situation, the Big Ten Conference announced Thursday morning that it is officially cancelling the conference tournament.
The Big Ten Conference announced today that it will be canceling the remainder of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, effective immediately.https://t.co/MeQMNScXKQ— Big Ten Conference (@bigten) March 12, 2020
The announcement came less than 24 hours after the conference announced the remainder of the tournament would be played in front of only media and select family members of players. That step came only after NCAA president Mark Emmert announced next week’s NCAA Tournament would be played in front of the same limited crowds with fans banned from attending.
Later in the evening, Nebraska head coach Fred Hoiberg left the Cornhuskers’ matchup against Indiana with an illness he had reportedly been dealing with all day. Hoiberg was rushed to the hospital for testing. Thankfully, he did not test positive for coronavirus, but the scare certainly brought attention to the risks.
While the decision to cancel the tournament itself was not a complete surprise given the sequence of events leading up to it, the timing was interesting. Both Rutgers and Michigan had already taken the floor for warmups and tipoff was less than a half hour away when the teams were recalled to the locker rooms and the announcement was made.
This comes a day after the NBA announced they are suspending their season with a similar team recall when Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. With that announcement, concern shifted from the large gatherings of fans to the potential spread among players. That was exacerbated Thursday morning when we learned that Gobert had spread the virus to teammate Donavan Mitchell after reportedly being quite cavalier in his handling of the situation.
Jazz star Donovan Mitchell has tested positive for the coronavirus, league sources tell ESPN. Jazz players privately say that Rudy Gobert had been careless in the locker room touching other players and their belongings. Now a Jazz teammate has tested positive.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 12, 2020
The Big Ten was not alone in their actions on Thursday. The SEC, ACC and AAC also announced plans to cancel their conference tournaments following the Big Ten announcement.
The obvious question now is how long until the NCAA decides to postpone or cancel next week’s NCAATournament.