- March Madness starts on Sunday, 15th March 2020, 18:00 ET.
- The tournaments will take place despite coronavirus worries.
- The NCAA has created an advisory panel to tackle any potential issue caused by the outbreak.
As confirmed yesterday, the NCAA is going to hold the March Madness tournaments according to the schedule despite the coronavirus outbreak. The issue is threatening to cause a worldwide pandemic, but the NCAA officials are confident there is no room for panic. Still, they did establish a special committee with the purpose of monitoring the situation.
“The NCAA is committed to conducting its championships and events in a safe and responsible manner.”The NCAA CEO Donald Remy commenting on the coronavirus outbreak.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has already reached the United States, where there are more than 120 confirmed cases across 13 states. The numbers are much higher in other parts of the planet. So far, more than 90,000 people have been affected worldwide, with several thousand confirmed deaths.
No Delays for March Madness
This year’s March Madness starts with Selection Sunday on March 15. The first games are to be played on Tuesday, March 17. According to the schedule, the tournament should finish on April 6. That is when the 2020 NCAA championship game is scheduled to take place. In addition, the women’s NCAA basketball tournament should start on March 20, with the final game taking place on April 5.
The NCAA CEO Donald Remy has said yesterday the tournaments should start as expected unless the situation worsens. Potential rescheduling of March Madness games or even the tournament cancelation are the decisions the newly-created NCAA coronavirus advisory panel will have to take.
The panel consists of some reputable names from the world of medicine, as well as important NCAA figures. Brian Hainline, the NCAA Chief Medical Officer is the one who will preside the panel. The former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is also a member of the team, the same as the Senior Director of the US Tennis Association, Mike Rodriguez.
Coronavirus Affecting Sports Around the World
Italy, one of the European countries worst hit by the coronavirus outbreak had to delay/reschedule a number of sports events, including the ones that are played as a part of the Italian Serie A soccer league. In addition, Italian soccer clubs that are competing in the Champions League will have to play their next matches in front of empty stands.
The situation is very similar in many Asian countries, mainly China, which is where the outbreak originated. The Chinese Grand Prix, for example, had to be rescheduled for April 19, while the 2020 World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing had to be canceled entirely.
In Japan, the total number of coronavirus cases has reached the one thousand mark. The rising numbers sparked the talk about possible postponing of the 2020 Olympics. In a speech given in parliament yesterday, the Japanese sports minister said there’s a possibility that the Tokyo Olympics could be postponed to the end of the year.