The NCAA has moved to cancel its remaining winter and spring championships due to the spread of COVID-19, according to a release issued Thursday afternoon. This includes the D-I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
“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 release said.
The announcement came a day after the NCAA announced that the tournaments would be played without fans. Throughout this morning and afternoon, multiple conferences completely cancelled their tournaments, instead awarding automatic bids to regular-season champions. The West Coast Conference played its tournament without any cancelation or modification.
Gonzaga men’s basketball head coach Mark Few, live on ESPN, learned of the news as he was being interviewed. He repeatedly stressed that he would have preferred postponement over a complete cancelation.
“Extremely disappointed,” Few said. “I think all of us felt we could postpone and even postpone into May or whatever, and then if we needed to cancel, we could cancel then. But if that's what they're doing, then I guess that's what they're doing.”
GU's men's and women's basketball teams were both expected to make the NCAA Tournament as top seeds, likely hosting the first two rounds in Spokane. Instead, the men's team will end its season with a win over Saint Mary's in the WCC title game and the women's team will end with a loss to Portland in the semifinal.
“You know, we'll hit it head on, and we'll explain to [the GU players] that a lot of things in life are out of their control,” Few said. “We talk a lot about control, and this is obviously something that they can't control.”
This story is developing. More information will be provided as it comes.