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Ivy League cancels conference basketball tournaments at Harvard because of coronavirus

Tommy Amaker's Harvard men's squad won't have another shot at the NCAA Tournament.Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

The Ivy League is canceling its basketball tournaments scheduled to be held at Harvard’s Lavietes Pavilion this weekend, the league announced Tuesday.

The decision comes hours after Harvard University announced that all classes on campus will be moving to an online-only format to attempt to stem the outbreak of coronavirus.

“We understand and share the disappointment with student-athletes, coaches and fans who will not be able to participate in these tournaments,” Ivy League executive director Robin Harris said in a statement. “Regrettably, the information and recommendations presented to us from public health authorities and medical professionals have convinced us that this is the most prudent decision.”


The two regular-season champions — the Princeton women and the Yale men — receive the conference’s automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament. Those who bought tickets to the games scheduled for Harvard will receive a full refund.

The Harvard men’s team, having lost out on the regular-season title to Yale, was hoping for another shot at an NCAA Tournament bid. Instead, its season will end with a 21-8 record and a second-place finish in the conference.

Harvard guard Bryce Aiken voiced his disappointment in the decision on Twitter, saying the organizers’ call was made with “total disregard for the players and teams that have put their hearts into this season.”

Seth Towns, who has been out for the season after undergoing knee surgery in the fall, called it contradictory for the tournament to be cancelled but for the conference to allow teams to play in the NCAA Tournament.

“If precaution is necessary, let us play in an empty gym,” he wrote on Twitter.

The Ivy League also announced limits on spectators at venues for other athletic events going forward, and cancelled out-of-season practices like spring football.

Katie McInerney can be reached at Follow her @k8tmac.