The NCAA announced in a statement on Thursday that all 2020 winter and spring championships were canceled because of concerns over COVID-19.
The announcement officially ended several conference basketball tournaments, the men’s and women’s March Madness basketball tournaments as well as the men’s and women’s College World Series scheduled for this summer, along with other championships.
“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,” the statement said. “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.”
Though other conferences suspended spring sports indefinitely, the SEC suspended regular season competition and SEC Championships until March 30 and would later extend the suspension to April 15. SEC programs were forced to cease practices, workouts and other team meetings before March 16.
“SEC member institutions will continue to provide their student-athletes with care and support to meet needs in areas including academics, medical care, mental health and wellness, nutrition and housing as needed,” the conference said in a statement.
Even with the target date set for April 15, it’s unlikely that any type of competitive season will resume after losing four weeks of games.
The Ole Miss men’s and women’s basketball teams had already finished their seasons, and the baseball team was enjoying a historic start to the season with a 16-1 record while preparing to host LSU in a weekend series.
“All I can think about is how this team may never suit up with the same 34 guys again,” baseball player Anthony Servideo tweeted. “So thankful for the opportunity to play with this special group and the memories we made together.”
The decision also put an abrupt end to a possible second NCAA tournament berth for the Ole Miss women’s golf team, who secured their fourth first place finish before the spring break, setting a program record.
“I am utterly distraught and completely disappointed in the decision made by the NCAA,” golfer Kennedy Swann said in an Instagram post. “Today my senior season was cut short. I cannot believe that I played my last collegiate event a few weeks ago without even realizing it.”
Upperclassmen like Servideo and Swann could potentially return for the 2021 season as the NCAA Division I Council Committee recommended that eligibility relief be provided to student athletes who participate in spring sports.
“Details of eligibility relief will be finalized at a later time,” the NCAA said Friday in a statement. “Additional issues with NCAA rules must be addressed, and appropriate governance bodies will work through those in the coming days and weeks.”