Greg Sankey and the SEC have made the decision to immediately halt all sports through the end of the month of March.
Based on the latest developments and the continued spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the SEC today announced the suspension of regular season competition for teams in all sports on SEC campuses, as well SEC championship events, until March 30.https://t.co/qT5Y41TDd1— Alabama Athletics (@UA_Athletics) March 12, 2020
This includes football, baseball, softball, gymnastics, tennis, swimming & diving, golf, rowing, track & field, cross country.
It really is a shame for many Alabama sports. Baseball was off to their best start since 1997. Softball looked like they had finally righted the ship. Both men’s and women’s tennis teams are having great seasons and are nationally ranked. Both basketball teams were hoping to extend their seasons. Gymnastics, swimming and track were headed to the NCAAs.
As mentioned, all competition has come to a halt but it would seem that practicing and working out would still be allowed. But who knows in this climate?
One question floating around is recruiting. There is much travel involved in that activity. Any cancellation of that could hurt many programs. UPDATE: SEC suspends recruiting visits at least through the end of March. The Big Ten has followed suit.
First off, there is no guarantee that sports will be reactivated come April 1. We could see the ban extended and/or have complete seasons wiped away. [SIDE NOTE: Will athletes of non-revenue sports be granted another year of eligibility if that happens?]
There will be a mad scramble and plenty of conference calls to see if the games can be rescheduled. The NIT and WNIT are most likely kaput and the NCAA Tournament is endangered. March Madness is such a huge event, it would be difficult to reschedule. Last year’s Sweet 16 started on March 28-29. One suggestion is to pare the field down to 32 teams and play it out in April. Of course there would be much whining from those lower seeds but it is better than not playing at all.
Baseball and softball probably lose those games entirely. The Alabama teams already had some rain makeup games rescheduled. It would be tough squeezing in any more games.
Gymnastics, swimming and track will probably dump any SEC Championships but NCAA Championships could be rescheduled. However, it might be tough knocking off all the rust with so much time off. Golf could reschedule and extend their seasons since they had just gotten started.
UPDATE: Apparently, this weekend’s NCAA track & field championships will go on as scheduled but without spectators. It is unclear whether SEC teams will participate.
Statement from the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championship committee pertaining to attendance: pic.twitter.com/1ezdJIFC2P— NCAA Track & Field (@NCAATrackField) March 12, 2020
It seems inconsistent that track & field can proceed while other non-contact sports like tennis and golf, and to a lesser extent softball and baseball in open air stadiums, must stop play.
UPDATE: Sankey is “surprised” by the blanket cancellations of the NCAA.
“I’m surprised we’ve made a decision now in mid-March not to play a baseball or softball national championship event. So I look forward to learning what informed that decision.”@GregSankey reacts to the NCAA canceling all winter and spring championships on @Finebaum. pic.twitter.com/SFA8dPwKHF— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) March 12, 2020
What kind of leadership is it from NCAA president Mark Emmert when the SEC Commissioner has to hear about cancellations from a reporter?