The 2020 NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament more commonly known as March Madness — was cancelled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. After first announcing a plan to play with limited spectators, the NCAA made the difficult decision to cancel on March 11th, making it the first time since 1939 that the Tournament would not be played. This decision was made out of an abundance of caution for student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans across America who had been preparing for months leading up to this event.
When the news of an impending pandemic started becoming more widespread earlier this year, there was some concern within college athletics about whether or not it would disrupt plans for cancelling many tournaments and events that occur throughout the year. As precautions began being taken across different states such as travel restrictions and social distancing orders, it became apparent that organizers needed to start planning alternative options for any scheduled sporting events. Other collegiate sports were quickly affected as schools canceled their remaining regular seasons with no intention of resuming them while other conferences held off until later dates with hopes of postponing or simply canceling their respective tournaments.
By March 10th, most major sports had already postponed or cancelled their games however NCAA president Mark Emmert stated they were still discussing alternative plans and hadn’t yet come to a final decision on what should happen with March Madness. On March 11th, the tough decision was finally announced which meant 68 teams across four regions would be denied their chance at participating in one of college basketball’s most iconic moments. It also meant thousands of fans who typically gather around stadiums shared by multiple universities over three weeks wouldn’t get to enjoy these thrilling matchups from all corners of America in person either. Even though this announcement may have been disappointing–especially given how much preparation players put into training each season–it turned out to be a necessary action if health safety issues were going to continue being monitored seriously during what can considered a global health crisis today.
It is not yet known how Chicago restaurants and bars will handle the pandemic but for the moment, all sport events are postponed.