Big Ten cancels men’s basketball tournament

The Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament was canceled before its scheduled games on Thursday.


Hannah Kinson

Iowa center Luka Garza walks off the court after a men’s basketball game between Iowa and Purdue at Carver Hawkeye Arena on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. The Hawkeyes were defeated by the Boilermakers, 77-68.

Pete Ruden, Pregame Editor

INDIANAPOLIS — The remainder of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, the conference announced Thursday morning.

“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,” a conference release read. “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 remainder of the tournament was canceled just over 15 minutes before tipoff for the Michigan-Rutgers game, the first game slated for Thursday’s schedule.

Iowa was scheduled to face Minnesota at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.

“First and foremost, our prayers are with those who have been affected by the coronavirus as well as those responsible for the decisions that affect so many,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said in a release. “Following the advice from global health professionals, the Big Ten made a very difficult, but correct decision.”

“I am incredibly proud of my team and this decision does not diminish everything that we have accomplished this season. While our players, coaches, and fans are all disappointed, the bigger picture of the health and well-being of everyone must be our top priority.”

On Wednesday night, Nebraska head coach Fred Hoiberg left the bench late in the second half during the Huskers’ game against Indiana and was taken to a hospital in Indianapolis.

Nebraska announced later that Hoiberg had been diagnosed with Influenza A.

“We are in full support of Commissioner Kevin Warren and Big Ten Conference presidents and administrators in canceling the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament,” Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said in a release. “This is a fluid situation that is new to all of us. We will continue to monitor information through the Big Ten Conference and NCAA and move forward accordingly.”

In addition to the Big Ten’s cancellation, a total of 13 conferences have made the decision to cancel their tournaments, including the Big 12, AAC, SEC, ACC, Pac-12, Big East, and A-10.

As of Wednesday night, the NCAA had planned to continue its men’s basketball tournament without the presence of fans.

On the professional level, the NBA suspended its season on Wednesday, while the MLS suspended its season Thursday morning. The NHL also suspended its season on Thursday, while the MLB is expected to suspend spring training.