UPDATE: The NCAA has canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments because of the spread of coronavirus.
The move puts an abrupt end to the season less than a month before champions were to be crowned.
The decision comes a day after the NCAA announced the games that were scheduled to start next week would go on but played in mostly empty arenas. That plan was scrapped as every major American sports league from the NBA to MLB put the brakes on its season due to concerns about the pandemic.
EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The Western Athletic Conference men’s and women’s basketball tournament is officially canceled and Conference USA is reportedly going to do the same.
The WAC released a statement on Twitter and Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reported a source told him C-USA will be canceling its tournament.
UTEP and NMSU athletes were at the tournament. The NMSU men’s team was the No. 1 seed in the WAC tournament, while the UTEP women were scheduled to play a quarterfinal game later Thursday.
“We are disappointed to have our season come to an end, but we support the decision of the conference office to cancel the remainder of the tournament,” said UTEP women’s basketball coach Kevin Baker. “There are things that are bigger than basketball, and our number one concern is the health and well-being of everyone.”
Several college basketball conference tournaments have been canceled moments before tipoff, putting the NCAA Tournament at risk.
The Big Ten, Big 12 and the SEC tournaments announced they were off, and other conferences were expected to follow suit.
The men’s NCAA Tournament is one of the most popular events on the American sports calendar. March Madness draws hundreds of thousands of fans to arenas from coast to coast.