Big Ten commissioner Warren speaks on Big Ten Tournament cancellation

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren remained committed to the Big Ten’s decision to cancel its men’s basketball tournament when he took the podium on Thursday

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Big Ten Conference Commissioner Kevin Warren addresses reporters regarding the cancellation of the 2020 Big Ten men's basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, on Thursday, March 12, 2020.

Pete Ruden, Pregame Editor


INDIANAPOLIS — Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren took to the podium on Wednesday about an hour after the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

Only in his third month as commissioner, Warren remained committed to his initial decision to cancel the tournament.

“I don’t want to have any regrets,” Warren said. “I want to make sure, as a conference, we do the right thing because if something had gone awry here, I don’t want to be in a position looking back saying, ‘If only we would have canceled this tournament.’

“I feel very good with the decision we have made at the Big Ten Conference to cancel our man’s basketball tournament.”

Warren said that no one around the conference has tested positive for COVID-19 or has been quarantined because of the virus.

Nebraska head coach Fred Hoiberg left the bench and was taken to a hospital after feeling ill on Wednesday night, but Husker Athletics announced that he was diagnosed with Influenza A.

The rest of the Nebraska team and coaches were held in the locker room in Bankers Life Fieldhouse after the game but were allowed to return to the hotel after a lengthy wait, according to Christopher Heady of the Omaha World-Herald.

Warren said he does not know if Husker players and coaches have been tested for coronavirus.

On the court, Warren said he didn’t have plans to crown a champion because the tournament did not come to a conclusion.

The ACC awarded its trophy to regular-season champion and tournament No. 1 seed Florida State shortly after canceling its tournament.

The Big Ten had three teams tied at the top of the standings with a 14-6 record in conference play — Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Maryland.

“When you think about it, we were blessed with an incredible Big Ten basketball season with the number of teams that played well,” Warren said. “We have those memories to really think about as we sit here today, but I don’t think I would recommend to our staff or crown a champion from the tournament because we didn’t get a chance to play the tournament.”

In his short time as commissioner, Warren has made the health of Big Ten student-athletes a priority, whether it be physical or mental health.

Thursday’s events seemed to take another step in that direction.

“We want to make sure that our student-athletes have an opportunity on our college campuses to get a world-class education, to participate in intercollegiate athletics, but also that we create an environment that they are healthy from a holistic standpoint,” Warren said. “And then, we show them leadership. So, I think this is a chance for a lot of people to understand and learn what the Big Ten stands for.”

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