March Madness and possibly the college baseball season have become the latest casualties of the coronavirus pandemic.
After originally announcing that the tournament would be played without fans in attendance, the decision has now been made the cancel both the men’s and women’s tournaments as public health concerns continue to spread along with the virus itself.
— NCAA (@NCAA) March 12, 2020
Also included in the NCAA’s announcement is the fact that the College World Series in June has also been canceled. The SEC had previously announced that all sports, including baseball, would be suspended until at least March 30th.
During an appearance with SportsTalk Mississippi, Charlie Hussey, the SEC’s Deputy Director, said that the conference was unaware of this new development until the news broke.
— Richard Cross (@RichardCrossSTM) March 12, 2020
Hussey stated that no decision has been made by the league in regards to the possibility of continuing the regular season and moving forward with the SEC Baseball Tournament. The conference’s athletic directors will discuss the situation as early as tomorrow morning.
When it comes to interest in college baseball, Mississippi is second to none as both Ole Miss and Mississippi State are consistently among the top programs in the country in terms of attendance.
Ole Miss Athletic Director Keith Carter expressed interest in exploring the possibility of continuing the SEC’s regular-season and said that while safety is always at the forefront of the conversation, there are questions that need to be asked.
“Is there a way that we can try to get this back on the table because we’ve got three months before the College World Series. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me that you would make this decision now without consultation with any of the conferences…So, is there a way that we can lobby to get it back on the table? Let’s wait two weeks, let’s wait a month before we make a decision. I’m going to ask all of those questions tomorrow,” he said.
Carter went on to say that the NBA’s model is something to consider.
“The NBA suspended their season, but they are monitoring and trying to get more information. To me, that’s what we should do too,” he said.
As for Southern Miss, C-USA has suspended all athletic events until further notice.
All eight of Mississippi’s public universities have been forced to shift courses to an online format when the semester resumes on March 23rd after an extended Spring Break.
Mississippi’s first case of coronavirus (COVID-19) was confirmed by the Department of Health on Wednesday.