By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor
The Big 12 has canceled both its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in Kansas City amid concerns about the spread of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus. The conference announced Thursday morning that will cancel all tournaments through April 15, including the equestrian and gymnastics championships.
“After consultation with our Board of Directors it was decided that canceling these championships was in the best interest of the health and safety of our student-athletes,” said Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, according to the release.
The Baylor women’s basketball team received word of the tournament cancellation before its flight left for Kansas City Thursday morning. The men’s team was scheduled to play Kansas State in the quarterfinals Thursday night.
The World Health organization labeled the spread of COVID-19 a pandemic Wednesday and the CDC has advised many to take precautions. While the NBA, NHL and MLS have suspended the remainder of their seasons, there has been no word from the NCAA about the cancellation of March Madness. However, the NCAA did announce that no spectators would be allowed to attend any of the tournament games, which are scheduled to begin next week.
As of noon Thursday, all Power 5 leagues have canceled their basketball tournaments, according to ESPN. That includes the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Southeastern Conference, the Big 12, the Big 10 and the Pac-12. Other conferences that have cancelled their basketball tournaments include the American, the Atlantic 10, Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, America East, Big Sky and the Western Athletic.
The Southwestern Athletic Conference has restricted attendance to both their men’s and women’s basketball tournaments to essential staff and family members.
The Pac-12 has canceled all athletic events until further notice and the Ivy League has canceled competition of all spring sports through the remainder of the semester.
The SEC has also suspended all sporting events through March 30. As a result, the contest between Baylor softball and No. 7 Florida will no longer be held this weekend.
After the cancellation of its tournaments, the Big 12 later announced that all regular-season competition will be suspended until March 29. The news comes after the University of Texas announced Wednesday that it will not allow fans into any of its home sporting events until March 22 but that teams will continue to travel to away contests. On Thursday, UT postponed all events held at the Frank Erwin Center.
West Virginia University then suspended all athletic events through March 22, just prior to the Big 12 announcement, according to the Daily Athenaeum.
Baylor Athletics did the same, announcing Thursday that home athletic events through April 5 would have restricted attendance. These restrictions after Baylor University announced that it would extend spring break for students by another week and that classes would resume online until April 3.