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Sun Belt, NCAA cancels both men’s and women’s basketball tournaments

Texas State Athletics
Thursday, March 12, 2020

Thursday, 4:59 p.m.: This story has been updated with additional information.

The Sun Belt Conference announced the suspension of both its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments over mounting concerns surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) in a statement Thursday morning.

The league initially planned to limit entry to the tournaments at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans to “student-athletes, coaches, essential staff, officials, broadcast network staffs, credentialed media and limited immediate family members of the participating teams present” during the semifinal and final rounds of the tournament taking place on Saturday and Sunday. However, after further discussions, Sun Belt officials ultimately decided to cancel the tournaments altogether.

The Sun Belt joins multiple other conferences in ending its league tournament, joining the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Big East, Pac-12 and SEC among others. NCAA President Mark Emmert announced Thursday afternoon that all NCAA winter and spring championships, including the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, are canceled as well.

“This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities,” Emmert said in the statement.

The No. 3 seed Texas State men’s basketball team defeated No. 6 seed Appalachian State in a quarterfinal matchup Wednesday night, 85-68. The Bobcats were scheduled to play in one of the Sun Belt semifinal games against No. 2 seed South Alabama on Saturday at 2 p.m. 

Instead, the team’s season comes to an abrupt halt, finishing the year with a 21-11 overall record while going 13-7 in conference play. The collegiate careers of senior forward Eric Terry and guard Nijal Pearson — the Sun Belt Player of the Year — also come to an end.

Texas State athletics department officials met at 3:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon to discuss the plan moving forward with all of the school's teams.

The Sun Belt late Thursday announced that it would be suspending all spring regular-season competitions and conference championships in all sports.  


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