The Big Ten Tournament has been cancelled after first round games were played on Wednesday night due to the wide-spread coronavirus pandemic, the conference announced early Thursday morning. The first game of the Thursday slate of games was set to feature the Michigan Wolverines and Rutgers Scarlet Knights at 12 p.m. ET, but that obviously will no longer be taking place.
The Big Ten Tournament is cancelled.— Brendan Quinn (@BFQuinn) March 12, 2020
From the Big Ten:
The Big Ten Conference announced today that it will be canceling the remainder of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, effective immediately.
The Big Ten Conference will use this time to work with the appropriate medical experts and institutional leadership to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The main priority of the Big Ten Conference continues to be the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all developing and relevant information on the COVID-19 virus.
The decision comes after the Big Ten originally said they would play the conference tournament, starting on Wednesday, as planned with no restrictions, then reversed course a few hours later and said that fans would not be allowed to attend.
Wednesday evening was one of the craziest nights in the history of, well, ever. Amid the numerous cancellations and changes to plans of the major American sporting leagues and events, the NBA suspended its season indefinitely after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 and multiple teams that had recently played the Jazz being forced to self-quarantine, including our local Detroit Pistons. Nebraska head coach Fred Hoiberg was also visibly ill during the first round loss to Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament and was sent to the hospital, though was cleared with flu-like symptoms. Nebraska was forced to quarantine for a bit at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis before being released. Arena clean-up crews were also ordered to leave the premises.
The NCAA announced on Wednesday that both the men’s and women’s tournaments would be played without fans in attendance, but one wonders if that will even take place at this point. The University of Michigan announced its plan to prevent the spread of the virus, while the athletic department laid out what will take place the rest of the spring, which includes the cancelation of the open spring practice on April 18 and on-campus events being open to family and media only.
We will have more as these stories develop. For now, listen to health professionals, use good hygiene and if you feel sick, stay home.