The March Madness cancellation comes after the news that the NBA decided to suspend the remainder of their season
Florida Gulf Coast v North Carolina
Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty

The National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament has officially been canceled with the rise of coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns in the United States.

On Thursday, NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors announced the cancellations of the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

Other NCAA winter and spring championships have also been canceled.

The news of the March Madness cancellation comes just after the college championships leading up to the NCAA Tournament, including the Ivy League, ACC and SEC, were also canceled.

Prior to the news of the official tournament cancellation, the NCAA had said on Wednesday that they planned to carry on with the tournament without fans in attendance. CBS and Turner were set to broadcast the games as usual, according to ESPN.

“While I understand how disappointing this is for all fans of our sports, my decision is based on the current understanding of how COVID-19 is progressing in the United States,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement about the initial no-fans decision. “This decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of coaches, administrators, fans and, most importantly, our student-athletes. We recognize the opportunity to compete in an NCAA national championship is an experience of a lifetime for the students and their families. Today, we will move forward and conduct championships consistent with the current information and will continue to monitor and make adjustments as needed.”

Sporting events all over the world have been heavily affected by the virus — the scare even prompting the NBA to suspend its season after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus.

“The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminary tested positive for COVID-19. The test was reported shortly prior to the tip-off of tonight’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena,” the NBA said in a Twitter statement on Wednesday evening.

Rudy Gobert
Rudy Gobert
| Credit: Will Newton/Getty Images

“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic,” the statement concluded.

On Monday, Gobert appeared to poke fun at the virus during a press conference when he leaned over and touched all of the microphones and recorders following his interview.

“As part of the Jazz’s COVID-19 response, shoot around availability was done in the ZBBC media room today rather than on the court. As Rudy Gobert got finished discussing the situation, he stood up, leaned over and made it a point to touch every mic and recorder in front of him,” Utah Jazz reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune Eric Walden tweeted.

Following the news of Gobert’s coronavirus diagnosis, it was announced on Thursday that a second player from the Utah Jazz team, Donovan Mitchell, also tested positive for the virus.