The Southeastern Conference canceled the final four days of the 2020 Men’s Basketball Tournament on Thursday, citing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision came amid a slew of conferences taking the same action, 13 in total, within 24 hours of the SEC’s decision to play on without spectators.
An SEC press release stated that “the latest developments and the continued spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19)” caused the conference to shut down the tournament in Nashville, Tennessee, in addition to all athletic events through the end of March.
The NCAA announced Wednesday afternoon that March Madness would go on without spectators. It decided to cancel the tournament altogether Thursday afternoon, along with all other winter and spring championships, effectively canceling all sports through the end of the academic year.
Multiple reports confirmed that the NCAA plans to grant all athletes competing in spring sports another year of eligibility to make up for their lost seasons.
While the Razorbacks were working their way back to being “on the bubble,” the NCAA announced Sunday, usually known as Selection Sunday, that it would not release brackets for either the men’s or women’s basketball tournament.
“Needless to say, this is an unprecedented experience for us all,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said. “We take very seriously each decision made related to coronavirus/COVID-19. We all care about sports, but we care more deeply about the people involved in our sports.”
Arkansas men’s basketball defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores 86-73 in the opening round of the SEC Tournament Wednesday night and had a second-round contest with South Carolina slated for Thursday.