NCAA cancels winter and spring championships because of COVID-19

Bethesda at SUU, Cedar City, Utah, Nov. 6, 2019 | File photo by Ryne Williams, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — As conferences around the country announced that the rest of their basketball tournaments would be canceled, the NCAA released a statement Thursday afternoon saying all winter and spring championships will be canceled, including the Division I March Madness tournament.

“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,” according to the release. “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.”

Dixie State athletics

The Dixie State men’s basketball team traveled to Texas for the first round of the NCAA Division II national tournament and the south-central regional tournament, but upon their arrival, they heard the news that the NCAA had canceled all remaining spring and winter championships.

“We’re obviously disappointed for everyone involved, but it’s the right decision,” DSU athletic director Jason Boothe said in a text.

The RMAC conference then released a statement announcing that will be suspending all spring sports as well.

“The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) has announced the suspension of all spring championship and non-championship competitions and travel through April 6th as a result of the rapidly developing information and decisions related to COVID-19,” the release said.

SUU athletics

The SUU men’s basketball team took down Idaho in the first round of the Big Sky men’s basketball tournament, which will likely be their final game of the season.

Following the events that took place on Wednesday night with the Utah Jazz, conferences around the country, as well as the Big Sky, decided to cancel the rest of their basketball tournaments.

Colorado Mesa at Dixie State, St. George, Utah, March 7, 2020 | Photo by Ryne Williams, St. George News

The quarterfinal round of the tournament was scheduled to be played Thursday with SUU taking on Northern Colorado, but after a president’s council meeting Thursday morning, the Big Sky released the following statement.

“This decision was not made lightly, as we know how meaningful our basketball championships is to our student-athletes, coaches, alumni and fans,” Big Sky Commissioner Tom Wistrcill said in the statement. “After consulting with medical experts, local authorities, and the leadership of our institutions, we feel that this decision is prudent given the health and well-being of all involved.”

As for the athletic department as a whole, SUU released a statement regarding the spring seasons.

“The Big Sky Conference is reviewing the advisability of continuing spring sports. SUU will continue it’s spring athletic seasons until further word from Big Sky Conference,” the release said. “In compliance with direction from the state of Utah and Southern Utah University, the number of spectators that will be allowed to attend is limited.”

This news comes as many college athletic conferences are canceling all of their spring sports. The ACC suspended all athletic activities while the Mountain West and the Ivy League have suspended their spring sports.

In response, SUU will be limiting attendance at softball games while canceling all spring competitions for football, soccer and volleyball.

COVID-19 information resources

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