The NCAA has officially canceled the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments, NCAA president Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors said Thursday in a statement.
A Wednesday announcement had suggested the NCAA planned to move forward with the tournaments without fans in attendance. However, in the 24 hours since Wednesday’s press release was issued, the NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS have all postponed their seasons, and virtually every Division I conference canceled their own tournaments, prompting the NCAA to reconsider its stance.
The NCAA said in its statement:
“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."
All remaining winter and spring NCAA championships will be canceled as well, according to the press release. The wording in the statement — including “cancel” rather than “postpone” — indicates that the NCAA won’t be leaving the door open to March Madness being pushed back and becoming April Madness or May Madness.
The decision also means that NCAA prospects who intend to become part of the 2020 draft class have played their last college games. It remains unclear how many opportunities NBA teams will get to scout those players this spring, with events like the Nike Hoop Summit, the Portsmouth Invitational and the Draft Combine all up in the air as well.