The coronavirus pandemic disrupted the NCAA’s Division I for men in basketball for the first time Saturday, when a scheduled game between the seventh seeded Oregon and Virginia Commonwealth, a No. 10 seed, due to virus-related problems as a non-match has been declared.
The NCAA’s men’s basketball committee on Saturday did not set out in a brief statement the circumstances that led to the ruling that it did not indicate that they were committed to VCU.
“The NCAA and the committee deplore the fact that the student-athletes and coaching staff of VCU will not be able to play in a tournament in which they deserve the right to participate,” the committee said.
Under the rules of the tournament, Oregon will automatically advance into the tournament and will be the winner of the game Saturday night between Iowa and Grand Canyon, a no. 15-series, play.
The virus threatened the tournament, which is being played out entirely due to the Indiana pandemic, as a threat to end championships before they even started in earnest. Last week, the Atlantic Coast and Big 12 conference teams – Duke, Kansas and Virginia – withdrew from their tournaments due to their virus.
NCAA officials have imposed significant restrictions on players, coaches and officials in an effort to prevent the virus from invading the men’s tournament, a university sports juggernaut that makes up the bulk of the association’s annual income. Attendance is limited, teams are largely restricted to their hotels in Indianapolis and many people associated with the tournament have been tested for the virus daily.
In addition, team travel parties had to test negative for the virus for seven consecutive days before traveling to Indiana.
But in an interview Monday, NCAA president Mark Emmert acknowledged that matters could appear during the tournament, which ended on April 5.
“The first goal is no serious medical problems,” Emmert said. “It does not mean that we do not have to pull out teams, or that someone has to test positive. We are not naive about it – but there are no serious medical problems throughout.”