NCAA vice president of men’s basketball Dan Gavitt says brackets won’t be created for the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments that were canceled due to coronavirus. Gavit says he made the decision and it was supported by basketball committees.
“There is not an authentic way to produce tournament fields and brackets at this point without speculating,” Gavitt said Sunday, the day the men's NCAA Tournament field had been scheduled to be announced. “And, that isn’t fair to the teams that would be positively or negatively impacted by manufacturing March Madness. More importantly, in light of this global health crisis, I believe we need to keep college basketball in perspective.”
College basketball’s showcase was canceled Thursday, leading to suggestions from coaches and athletic directors to release brackets for the event even though it won’t happen this year.
“Players and coaches want to see their school name on the bracket,” Gavitt acknowledged. “Members of the media want to dissect matchups. Bracketologists want to compare the work of the committees versus what they’ve predicted. Fans are curious for those same reasons. All of us want something to fill the void we’re feeling. However, anything less than a credible process is inconsistent with the tradition of the NCAA basketball championships. . . . There will always be an asterisk next to the 2020 NCAA men’s and women’s basketball championships regardless if brackets are released.”
NCAA president Mark Emmert has said postponing the tournament indefinitely was not feasible.
▪ Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns has announced he’ll donate $100,000 to the Mayo Clinic for testing for the COVID-19 virus.The Minnesota-based medical system said it expects the money from Towns will help increase capacity for COVID-19 from 200 tests per day to more than 1,000 per day in the coming weeks.The Mayo Clinic has been working for the past month on developing its own test for the virus to supplement other existing avenues.
▪ A minor leaguer for the New York Yankees tested positive for the coronavirus over the weekend, becoming the first known player affiliated with Major League Baseball to contract Covid-19.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Sunday that a “younger player” was affected, without identifying him. Cashman said the player “feels much better” and his symptoms had subsided, but he was still isolated.
“He did not have any interactions with our major league players,” Cashman said on a conference call.
▪ In Jupiter, Fla., the Miami Marlins became the first organization to completely close their complex. Big leaguers were told to take a break and avoid group activities. The Marlins’ move was a team decision, rather than something mandated by Major League Baseball. MLB was expected to update clubs on its health policy Monday.
▪ Dominique Blanc, the president of Switzerland’s soccer federation, has tested positive for the coronavirus. The Swiss federation said the 70-year-old Blanc got the results Sunday morning and isolated himself at his home.
“I feel pretty good right now and have only mild flu symptoms,” Blanc said in a statement released by the federation. He was tested after developing a sore throat and mild cough.
The headquarters of Swiss soccer in Bern has been closed and staff who had recent contact with Blanc have received medical advice, the federation said.
Blanc attended the annual meeting of European soccer body UEFA on March 3, and raised the issue of consequences for shutting down domestic soccer with leaders from 55 member countries.
▪ On Saturday, Serbia’s soccer body said its president, the 42-year-old Slaviša Kokeza, had tested positive.
Valencia’s Argentine defender Ezequiel Garay says that he has tested positive for the coronavirus, making him the first Spanish league player to become infected.
Valencia added in a statement that a total of five members of its staff and team have the virus, without specifying if Garay is the only player. It says that all are in good health and confined at their homes.
▪ Major League Soccer has extended the moratorium on team training through Friday. MLS announced a 30-day suspension of match play on Thursday because of the new coronavirus.
The league said Sunday that players should remain in the market of their team and exercise safe social distancing. MLS said it is working with its players’ association and other North American professional leagues on a protocol to allow players at training facilities for rehabilitation or individual training.
▪ Professional soccer is shutting down indefinitely in Mexico following Sunday’s matches, which were already being played with no fans present as a precaution due to the coronavirus. The measure applies to the men’s top flight and second division, as well as the fledgling women’s league.
Mexico previously played soccer matches without fans for several weeks during the 2009 H1N1 influenza health emergency, an outbreak with Mexico as the epicenter.
▪ Brazil’s soccer confederation has suspended all competitions under its control due to the coronavirus outbreak. The tournaments affected include the men’s Brazilian Cup, the top two tiers of the women’s Brazilian championship, and junior tournaments. The men’s top-tier Brazilian championship is scheduled to begin in April.
The decision does not affect state championships currently being played. Some matches were held without any fans this weekend in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. São Paulo, Rio, and other state soccer bodies are set to decide Monday on their course of action.
▪The Italian soccer federation is planning to ask UEFA to postpone the European Championship; UEFA has a meeting planned on Tuesday to discuss the calendar.
Federation president Gabriele Gravina told Mediaset TV that Italian officials want Serie A to be completed by June 30. The Stadio Olimpico in Rome is slated to host the opening match of Euro 2020 on June 12, plus three other games of the tournament.
Serie A is currently suspended until April 3, along with all other sports in Italy, the European epicenter of the virus outbreak.
▪ The New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority said all ski areas and venues that it manages were suspending operation at the close of business Sunday.
Closures include all Nordic and Alpine ski resorts including Mt. Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid, Belleayre Mountain Ski Resort in the Catskills, Gore Mountain in North Creek, and Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington, near Lake Placid.
All Lake Placid Olympic sites will also be closing, including the Olympic Jumping Complex, Olympic Sports Complex, The Olympic Oval, and the Olympic Center including its museum and retail shops.
▪ The Texas racetrack that hosts the Formula One US Grand Prix and other motor racing series said it is closing indefinitely after a series of cancellations because of concerns about the coronavirus.
The Circuit of the Americas was supposed to host the MotoGP Grand Prix of the Americas on April 5 and the IndyCar Challenge on April 26. Both races have been canceled. The track is also home to the USL soccer team Austin Bold and the league season has been suspended.
The facility also has a concert amphitheater and hosts large concerts and other events. Austin city officials have banned gatherings of 250 people or more at least until May 1.
The F1 US Grand Prix remains scheduled for Oct. 25 if the season resumes. Formula One has postponed all races until at least May. MotoGP has tentatively rescheduled its Texas race for Nov. 15.
▪ Keeneland racetrack in Lexington, Ky., will be closed to all non-essential guests starting Monday. Only essential employees, owners, trainers, veterinarians, blacksmiths, and stable workers will be allowed in. The track will set up screening checkpoints to monitor those seeking access and everyone will require having their temperature taken. Only people with a temperature less than 100.5 degrees and showing no symptoms of the COVID-19 Covid-19 virus will be admitted.
▪ Nike Inc. is closing all retail stores in the United States and Western Europe to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The closures, which also include Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, will take effect Monday and last through at least March 27.
Nike will continue to pay employees during the shutdown, the company said.