Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN)- This was supposed to be the weekend that the Southeastern Conference crowned at Men’s basketball champion, but that is no longer the case. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey announced on Thursday morning that the tournament was canceled due to the spread of COVID-19.
“I’ve not had a situation as difficult and emotional as this one to make a recommendation to our presidents and chancellors that we cancel the remainder of our men’s basketball tournament. It was a moment where I had to stop and actually catch myself and recompose myself,” said Sankey.
The SEC tournament was originally slated to go on, just with no fans in the stands, but when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 and the NBA season was suspended, that’s when Sankey knew other options had to be considered.
“Literally as I walked up here last night, the NBA stopped the game and had a player diagnosed with coronavirus. I had a text exchange a few moments ago with Billy Donovan, who’s the first face I saw in that story and is a friend. As you were asking me, going through my mind is I have a responsibility to care for people, both our staff, our student-athletes, our coaches, and our fans, and we made the best decisions possible at the time, but information has developed,” added Sankey.
While the cancellation of the SEC tournament and NCAA tournament is disappointing for these players and coaches, most agree it was the right decision.
Sankey said, “In talking quickly now with our coaches, what I’ve heard is those guys look at the NBA. When that happens at the NBA level, they’re saying you want me to post up and guard closely and do these sorts of things. So I think that that thought, that kind of question in their minds was developing.”
The SEC had originally suspended all other SEC sports until at least March 30th, but the NCAA has since decided to cancel all Winter and Spring Championships, that includes the College World Series.