After much deliberation, the Western Athletic Conference Board of Directors has decided to cancel the remainder of the WAC Basketball Tournament and suspend any further spring athletics competition until further notice, per the recommendation from the NCAA’s COVID-19 advisory panel, according to a statement from the conference this morning.
The WAC joins a majority of the NCAA’s conferences in cancelling their postseason play, announcing the decision Thursday morning — just two hours before the start of the men’s tournament and a day after three women’s game had already been played at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, after many fans had already made the trip, it at the very least travel arrangements.
The Grand Canyon and Cal State Bakersfield women’s teams were forced to postpone play last night as a result of what the conference called a “medical situation,” with the game ultimately getting cancelled.
The threat of the COVID-19 virus, better known as the coronavirus, has already left its mark on the rest of the world, forcing commercial business shutdown in countries like Italy and calling for President Donald Trump to implement a European travel ban for the next 40 days in an attempt to better contain the highly contagious virus, and now the sports world is feeling the affects in full swing.
The cancellation of many a conference tournaments comes after the National Basketball Association elected to suspend this season’s play until further notice late Wednesday night, with many other professional sports leagues in the United States following suit.
The NCAA Tournament is still scheduled to go on behind closed doors, with only essential staff, members of the program and close family to be allowed to attend games, but just like the WAC Tournament before it, the situation is still fluid and subject to change in the best interest of public health and safety.
As of right now, the New Mexico State men’s basketball team is slated to represent the WAC in the NCAA Tournament after finishing the regular season with the best conference record.
We will continue to update the story as more information becomes available.