The Ivy League basketball tournament is officially canceled for both the men’s and women’s fields ahead of the Big Dance.
The league made the announcement on Tuesday due to the growing concerns over the spread of coronavirus. Two teams will still head to the NCAA Tournament as at-large bids.
Men’s & Women’s four-team tournaments canceled
The Ivy League basketball tournament was set to feature four teams for the men and four teams for the women. Those were going to be held starting Friday and running through Sunday in Cambridge, Massachusetts but will now be canceled.
“Regrettably, the information and recommendations presented to us from public health authorities and medical professionals have convinced us that this is the most prudent decision,” Ivy League executive director Robin Harris said in her statement regarding the decision.
Due to the cancelation, ESPN reports that the Ivy League will give automatic NCAA tournament bids to the Princeton women’s and Yale men’s teams.
The news of the Ivy League cancellation marks the first of any tournaments for Division I basketball to be canceled. All tickets will be refunded to those who purchased them.
Players react, petition started
With the announcement came disappointment from fans and of course players. Current NBA star Donovan Mitchell tweeted out “That’s terrible!!!” with the news.
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) March 10, 2020
Current Harvard player Bryce Aiken was not happy with the news calling it a “Horrible, horrible decision and total disregard for players and teams that have put their hearts into this season.”
Horrible, horrible, horrible decision and total disregard for the players and teams that have put their hearts into this season. This is wrong on so many levels and the @IvyLeague should do its due diligence to find a better solution. Everyone knows the risks of playing! https://t.co/HQXprzX9q6
— Bryce Aiken (@BryceAiken) March 10, 2020
His head coach Tommy Amaker released a statement backing the decision to cancel the tournament, though.
Harvard’s Tommy Amaker releases a statement after the cancellation of the Ivy League tournament. pic.twitter.com/GRIyzUD1Im
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) March 10, 2020
Basketball analyst Jeff Goodman also tweeted that a Change.org petition started up to get the tournament reinstated.
Part of the petition states, “If it is deemed safe enough for teams to travel to higher-level tournaments, then it should be safe enough for us to travel locally for the chance to compete. This is discrimination against the Ivy League men’s and women’s basketball teams. ”
The petition (link below) is signed by Members of the Ivy League Men’s and Women’s Basketball Team.
The Ivy League teams and players have started a petition to reinstate the Ivy League tourney. https://t.co/vBTPkTkNxi
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) March 10, 2020
Over 5,700 people had signed the petition as of this report just after 6 p.m. Eastern Time. A suggested target number was set at 7,500 signatures at that time.
Other conference tournaments, NCAA Tournament plans
So far, there have been no other announcements regarding upcoming college basketball tournaments. Some of those have already taken place including the Ohio Valley and Mountain West Conference tournaments.
More conference tournaments are set to begin on Wednesday including the Big Ten Tournament and Big East Tournament. The majority of tournaments will run until Sunday when the field of teams for the NCAA Tournament is announced.
The NCAA Tournament 2020 begins next week with the First Four play-in games in Dayton, Ohio on March 17 and 18. That’s followed by the opening round of the tournament on Thursday, March 19 at various regional sites. All scheduled games and venues are expected to operate as planned.
A statement from the NCAA said:
“NCAA member schools and conferences make their own decisions regarding regular-season and conference tournament play,” the NCAA said. “As we have stated, we will make decisions on our events based on the best, most current public health guidance available.”
“Neither the NCAA COVID-19 advisory panel, made up of leading public health and infectious disease experts in America, nor the CDC or local health officials have advised against holding sporting events. In the event circumstances change, we will make decisions accordingly.”
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