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NCAA’s Decision to Cancel Championships Makes No Sense

Mark Emmert Announced the NCAA's Cancellation of All Spring Sporting Events and 14 Championships (photo: USA TODAY Sports)

Fans were disappointed to hear Thursday that the NCAA had cancelled the NCAA Basketball Tournaments along with all sporting events and championships due to spreading of the coronavirus. Players and coaches were blindsided by the news. Like so many other past NCAA decisions, this move just doesn’t make sense.  

While all Auburn’s athletic teams were dismayed by the announcement, it probably hit Auburn’s basketball team the hardest. Coach Bruce Pearl said there was some anger when his players got the news while in Nashville getting ready to play Friday night. “There were a couple of heads down and some tears. We had five seniors who worked to be seeded second in this tournament.”

The Tigers have been ranked in the Top 25 for 21 weeks and are the defending SEC Tournament Champions. The seniors have amassed the most wins in a four-year period in Auburn history. With 55 wins in the past two years, this team had a chance to break the record (56) set by the last two teams. It was a great season stolen by mass hysteria caused by the corona virus.

There will be no SEC championship this year, no March Madness, no opportunity for Auburn to make a return trip to the final four, and no opportunity to make a statement that it has joined the nation’s elite. After so much training, playing, and preparation, the season didn’t end; it was just stopped. The players have a right to feel robbed.

And the College World Series has also been nixed—but why? It’s held in June. Surely the threat will be over by then. Even if it’s not, the decision could be made when the date gets a little closer— not three months out.

What about spring football? Auburn practices were set to begin Monday, however, that has been put on hold. The Tigers planned to practice every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday for the first three weeks, culminating with an April 11 A-Day game. At present that doesn’t look likely.

This writer understands the need for caution when the CDC warns against large crowds. However, what I can’t understand is why the NCAA couldn’t take a wait-and-see approach, and, possibly, postpone the NCAA Tournaments till April or even May. If the threat is still there in a month or two, then a decision could be made at that time to cancel all championships.

The student athletes deserve better. They not only deserve protection from a health threat but also more consideration for all they have sacrificed to play their sport.

What would it have hurt to have issued postponements instead of abruptly ending the careers of many college seniors? While the NCAA has a history of making ill advised announcements, none have made less sense than this decision.  


  1. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    ……I’m glad you posted this. The cancelling of myriad sports and live entertainment venues will have a serious ripple effect on the economy. I thought playing the games and barring crowds was the right call, because folks would still be able to enjoy the games at home, on TV.

    …..Our President is set to go on the air in less than 2 hours, to announce who-knows-what, other than a national state of emergency. I know in some countries like Italy the govenment has shut down all businesses except grocery and supply-chain outfits. A lot of businesses in the USA, particularly small businesses won’t be able to absorb this sort of loss.

    …..What is ESPN going to do? I’m guessing there will be an opportunity to watch a lot of classic games, in the coming months.

  2. Jason Wright says:

    Well put ATM. I feel the same way – It makes No Sense!

  3. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    ,,,,,,247 Sports is reporting that the NCAA is going to grant an extra year of eligibility to affected athletes.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      A little salve for some but, those who have a chance to play professionally (including freshman Isaac Okoro) will move on and will forever have lost the opportunity to play in March Madness or for a college championship. That also goes for the College World Series and the other designated spring sports. I just think it should have been given a little more thought. Reminds me of the old saying, “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”

  4. jbellison56 says:

    This is the craziest thing I’ve ever heard of. Mark Emmert needs to go.

  5. uglyjoe says:

    These are crazy times my friends. The last couple of days have felt like 9/11 and the run up to Hurricane Michael at the same time. I don’t think you can blame the NCAA….they weren’t the first to go nuts, and they didn’t really have a choice but to follow suite. We all are going to be eating a turd sandwich for awhile.

    My heart goes out to the athletes. However, my heart also goes out to the travel industry, the entertainment industry, etc. etc. My gratitude will be going out to the medical industry (my wife is the lab manager of the local hospital, so I get to see a little of that anguish). I’m also worried that my sympathies and condolences may get used as well in the future……and as a small business owner, I don’t have a clue what to expect.

    This road has pretty well been paved; we just don’t know where it’s going. I’m hoping for a big over-exaggeration, a lot of inconvenience and some good stories to tell my grandkids.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Agree Joe about being hopeful. I’m not only hoping but praying for those affected and for our country as a whole.

  6. friedca friedca says:

    Guys, let’s have some common sense here. An NBA player found out he had it while on the court. The NBA season went on hiatus. You want the NCAA to have a bunch of unpaid students traveling around the country when dudes who are making millions aren’t? Not good optics. Postponing also doesn’t make sense because doing so cost money (with no certainty it will take place) and we’re getting close to graduation. Bruce Pearls words are exactly all that needs to be said about this. Focus on what’s next for the Seniors future and our teams future.

  7. This was a knee jerk reaction, plain and simple.

  8. audad says:

    Great comments posted here and it's easy to see both sides. Frustration levels are understandably very high. But guys, we've never seen anything like this in our lifetimes and hopefully never will again. 5 straight days of the stock market having up or down swings of 1,000 pts or more.

    The world has never shut down the way it is right now. The news embellishes it and loves showing the people in the haz-mat suits because that's what the media does. But I'm more concerned when I hear medical experts talk about the possibility we could be a half million ventilators short of what would be needed in this country if this think spikes in the worst way. Sure there will be widespread pain through businesses and industries, but we could also see a complete meltdown of our healthcare system under the worst scenario and doctors would conceivably have to choose who would get a ventilator and who wouldn't.

    Am I sensationalizing? Possibly a little, but that's what's being talked about in the news and you can't blame the pro sports leagues or the NCAA for taking the actions they did. It sucks big time for the athletes and fans, and for the workers that won't be working.

    But again, people are being forced into making decisions using information they have never seen before. "Better safe than sorry" is one of the oldest cliches in the world, but in this case I hate to say it's probably the right approach.

  9. friedca friedca says:

    Man this article aged well

    • neonbets says:

      There’s something strange afoot as evidenced by comments like this. No dissent will be tolerated. It’s as if this flu not only a respiratory event, but a cudgel as well.

      I have a hard time putting my finger on the phenomenon: It’s like a combination of sanctimony, authoritarianism, fear, and relief. Relief is obviously an outlier, but it’s there because many of the most vocal pandemic panderers live isolated lives, so the social distancing is a welcome validation.

      It’s a once in a decade flu. Nothing more, and nothing less. Yet the world has shut down, jobs are lost, civil freedoms are being ripped away, future generations severely indebted….and barely a whisper of dissent.

      Yet, you come back two weeks after AubTiegerman wrote a reasonable post that went against the grain. Get a life.

      • Jason Wright says:

        Great post Neonbets. I hate to see what this is doing to our economy and in particular to people's jobs and loss of civil liberties over this bad flu. We are expected to just fall in line and obey. Scary how quickly the government can take over every aspect of our lives .

      • friedca friedca says:

        Im heading out on a deployment on Friday so ultimately I could care less about the virus. I’m just saying with everything shutting down the NCAA made the right decision (for once).

        Once again a sky is falling post was made here that wasn’t needed. That is what I was calling out and yea, coming back to the site two weeks later and seeing it still the last post made me chuckle so I decided to poke the over the top crowd here. I look forward to Acid Reigns play by plays come fall (assuming we have a season….we will I’m kidding).

        • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

          Appreciate you sharing your perspective Friedca and for your long time participation here at TET. I wasn't going to respond to you since all views and opinions here are not only welcomed but encouraged. We differ and that's alright.

          However, I never indicated that I was against athletes being taken off the field/court; only that the championships could be postponed till which time they had more information. The College World Series for one is not till June and a lot could happen in three months. If this piece was "a sky is falling post," then so was Phillip Marshall over at AU Undercover. He took the same position except he was stronger in calling out Mark Emmert for the way the NCAA handled the situation. Again, keep chiming in because it's appreciated.

          BTW, As a veteran and son of a WWII vet, I want to say I also appreciate your service and I will be praying for your protection in your deployment. God bless you and the men you serve with.

          • friedca friedca says:

            AubTigerman, appreciate all ya’ll do here at TET. I agree with you 100% that if there was a path to allow those players and coaches (and yes us the alumi/fans) to finish their season, even abbreviated, I was all for it. I think once the NBA took an indefinite hiatus which cascaded to every other major sports, the NCAA had no other choice. And with no clear date of return, pushing the games to April (which isn’t looking good now either just looking at my state NC and the stay in home order we’re expecting today/tomorrow), would have been a logistical nightmare to pull off. We also have to remember that theses are Seniors who very well may have played there last game of basketball ever, and while that is important in a young mans life, the transition they will be making sans basketball after graduation is even more important. With Auburn classes not returning, the time is to focus on these guys futures.
            Thanks for the well wishes, I’m lucky that this time I’ll be able to have a bit of (crappy) internet so I can follow along to the games here. There was nothing more pathetic than a grown man screaming at a computer screen on a ship madly refreshing the computer to get Acid’s play by play.

  10. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..I’m on the fence on this whole pandemic. I see the need to try and limit this disease. I also see the 5th article of the US Constitution, specifically the guarantee to “free travel” being ignored by politicians of both stripes.

    ……And then there is the First Amendment, specifically the prohibition forbidding the government from interfering with the right of “freedom of assembly.”

    ……I don’t know what I’m going to do in terms of sports blog posts. I can normally watch spring football games, read spring practice press, look at depth charts, etc. I have no way to even much preview Auburn for next fall, much less other teams in the SEC.

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