EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has been making its presence felt worldwide over the last several weeks is now leaving a gigantic impact on sports in the United States, and the Tri-State area is definitely no exception.
Only one day after the NBA announced that it was suspending the season until further notice, the NCAA decided to follow suit on Thursday and call off its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring championships at every division level.
This means the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Elite Eight, which was previously scheduled to tip-off at the Ford Center on March 26, is now officially canceled.
Meanwhile, high school sports in the Tri-State have also been directly affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The IHSAA announced on Thursday afternoon the boys basketball state tournament will move forward as planned with limited fan attendance. Every team is going to be allotted with only 75 tickets for each game.
While high school basketball seems to be going on as scheduled for the time being in Indiana, the same cannot be said for the state tournament in Kentucky.
The teams participating in the KHSAA Girls Sweet 16 were sent home after the first game ended, while the boys tournament has been effectively put on hold.
KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett did not rule out the possibility of both tournaments being rescheduled once the coronavirus (COVID-19) threat subsides, but this option remains very much in limbo.
“As of now, we’re suspended,” Tackett said. “We’re calling it an indefinite suspension. We’re not calling it a cancellation. There may eventually be a way we can finish. We don’t know. As we stated, the whole situation with COVID-19 is extremely fluid, as more data comes out around the country and the surrounding states, even potentially here in the health departments. It did not seem wise to try and fight it.”
Tacket says he’s hopeful about playing the tournaments later in the spring.
In the meantime, the IHSAA has not made any further announcements regarding cancellations.
As of now, teams are still set to play in the regional games on Saturday in front of “limited” fans.