Editor’s note: This story is part of The Daily Texan’s coverage of how coronavirus concerns are affecting UT-Austin. Read the rest of our coverage here.
One day after the Big 12 announced its annual men’s and women’s basketball conference tournaments would be closed off to fans due to concerns about COVID-19, the conference announced the tournaments would be cancelled entirely.
In a statement, the Big 12 announced the “immediate suspension of all Conference championships until April 15, resulting in the cancellation of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Basketball Championships.” The conference tweeted that “Conducting future Big 12 championships this season will be evaluated by April 15.”
All Power 5 conferences have now cancelled their basketball tournaments. The Texas and Texas Tech men’s teams, who were scheduled to tip off at 11:30 a.m. Thursday in Kansas City, Missouri, in the quarterfinal match, were pulled off the court during warmups after mayor Quinton Lucas announced a state of emergency.
The games were initially planned to proceed without fans in attendance, limiting teams to 125 tickets each reserved for guests of student-athletes and staff members. The NCAA Tournament is still scheduled to proceed without fans in attendance, although Power 5 commissioners are expressing doubt that the tournament will be played.
“(It’s) hard to tell if there’s going to be an NCAA Tournament to play in, or if it’ll look different than the March Madness we’ve come to know,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a press conference Thursday morning. “Once the mayor declared a state of emergency, it hastened our discussions.”
Bowlsby also said that nobody in the conference has tested positive for COVID-19 to his knowledge, but that he is not aware of anyone being tested.