For the first time in 82 years, the country will spend the month of March without one of the most iconic tournaments in the world. The NCAA, mounting worries over the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, has canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments this month, leaving us without March Madness.
“This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to the spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during the academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities,” the NCAA said in its statement.
The extraordinary move came a day after the NCAA announced that the first-round games would go on but be played in mostly empty arenas.
The decision to cancel the tournament in its entirety was one that many did not agree with as it affected many men and women’s eligibility.
For a senior with all four years of eligibility played, this was many athletes' last chance to deliver an NCAA championship to their respective university.
Notorious collegiate basketball player and Seton Hall legend, Myles Powell, came back for his senior year to lead Seton Hall to a March Madness tournament run, but those dreams came to a screeching halt when the NCAA announced they will be canceling this year’s festivities.
Powell finished as Seton Hall’s third-all-time leading scorer and averaged 21.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists this season on a bum ankle which kept him out two games in the middle of December.
Star athletes like Myles Powell are not the only players who are being affected by this incredible decision to cancel the tournament as the NCAA mandated all spring athletics be canceled for the 2020 season.
This means all senior athletes will not have the opportunity to play their final year of eligibility for their university.
Globally, the spread of coronavirus has had a major impact on countless other sporting events throughout the world. The World Health Organization declared a pandemic on Wednesday as there are more than 130,000 confirmed cases of the virus across at least 111 countries.
Emotionally, this pandemic has hurt many athletes, but financially, the NCAA loses out on the March Madness tournament that generates upwards of one billion dollars each year.
“The NCAA depends on the basketball tournament for nearly all of its annual revenue, more than half of which gets distributed directly to Division I schools and conferences. The money comes mostly from a multi-billion-dollar media and marketing contract with CBS and Turner, but it also comes from ticket and merchandise sales," said USA Today.
The NCAA also stated “We had $1.12 billion in revenue for a fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2019, according to its newly released audited financial statement. Of that amount, $804 million came from the CBS/Turner deal. Another $170 million was attributed to ‘championships and NIT tournaments,’” with a sizable portion of that likely coming from the men’s basketball tournament.
All in all, the world knows the NCAA and all other major organizations closing off their respective sports is necessary in order to solve the madness this pandemic has created on a global scale.