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NCAA cancels March Madness, other championships in response to coronavirus pandemic


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The Central Michigan women's basketball team huddles before the game against Oregon on March 24 at Spokane Arena.

The coronavirus has stopped March Madness.

Due to the public health threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA announced Thursday its decision to cancel the men's and women's tournament.

All other winter and spring NCAA championships, like the Frozen Four and College World Series, have also been canceled.

"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 NCAA announcement stated. "The 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 a time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities."

This marks the first time the NCAA men's basketball tournament has been canceled. 

When the Mid-American Conference tournament was canceled Thursday morning, Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said regular-season conference champions would get the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Even though Central Michigan women's basketball lost in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament, it won the regular season and would've been given an automatic bid to the 64-team tournament, nicknamed the Big Dance.

However, the NCAA tournament is no longer happening.

The MAC has yet to announce if it will cancel regular-season competition, practice and recruiting. Moments after the NCAA made its announcement, the Big Ten said it would stop "all conference and non-conference competitions through the end of the academic year." Those competitions also include baseball, softball and all other sports that continue after the semester ends.

Central Michigan has also not given their response on how the athletic department will move forward. CMU closed Sunday's gymnastics meet to the public.

The NBA, G-League, NHL and MLS have already suspended their seasons. Michigan and Ohio State have canceled their spring football games, while Michigan State has yet to announce its decision.

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