The Day the Madness Died

March 12, 2020, 3:32 PM HST (Updated March 12, 2020, 6:46 PM)
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Photo by Josh Pacheco.

Thursday, March 12, 2020, will go down in history as the day the Madness died.

Only three days before the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Selection Show and one week before the start of competition, the NCAA announced it has canceled both the men’s and women’s tournaments along with all winter and spring championships.

“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 the ongoing decisions by other entities,” the NCAA said in a statement.

The unprecedented decision comes one day after the National Basketball Association announced it would postpone its regular season indefinitely after news broke that Utah Jazz center, Rudy Gobert, had tested positive for COVID-19. His teammate, guard Donovan Mitchell, has since tested positive as well.

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“The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic,” the league said in a statement.

The NBA’s decision came Wednesday, one day before the first game in league history without fans was set to be played at the Chase Center in San Francisco, home of the Golden State Warriors.

NCAA officials announced the news that the league would cancel March Madness Thursday, one day after publicizing a decision to hold the games in empty arenas.

Major League Baseball followed suit Thursday, saying it would delay opening day games for at least two weeks. The first pitches were set to be thrown on Thursday, March 26.

“MLB will announce the effects on the schedule at an appropriate time and will remain flexible as events warrant, with the hope of resuming normal operations as soon as possible,” the league said in a statement.

All University of Hawai‘i sporting events have also been called off as a precaution to the spread of COVID-19. That decision was announced Thursday, along with the choice to move all classes on all campuses to online-only instruction until at least April 13.

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