As the COVID-19 coronavirus spreads across the United States, many major sports leagues have canceled or suspended their seasons to combat its spread.
Shippensburg University athletics joined a long list of sports teams and organizations to halt events as the coronavirus leaves its mark on the collegiate landscape.
NCAA President Mark Emmert announced in a statement the NCAA would cancel the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments as well as all of the remaining winter and spring NCAA championships.
“This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities,” the statement read.
This year marks the first the NCAA men's basketball tournament will not be played since the organization's founding in 1939. March Madness brackets have also been cancelled.
The NCAA had previously stated the tournaments would continue with no fans at the games. However, the increased spread of the coronavirus has led it to cancel all of the action for the remainder of the spring.
The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), the conference SU athletics are a part of, followed suit on Friday, announcing all sports will be suspended for the remainder of the spring semester. The conference also suspended all countable related athletic activities (CARA) until March 30. CARA can consist of anything from student-athletes working out with a strength and conditioning coach to using any of the institution’s athletic facilities.
Jeff Michaels, the Director of Athletics at Shippensburg University, released a statement on Friday afternoon which was addressed to the student-athletes.
“I am tremendously disappointed for all student-athletes within our spring sports as well as our winter student-athletes who had NCAA championships cancelled yesterday," Michaels said. "I want to thank all of our student-athletes who have worked diligently to continually represent this department and institution in the best ways possible academically, athletically, and in the community.”
The cancellation of all athletics at Shippensburg University is just another piece of how the coronavirus has affected the spring semester at SU. On Friday, SU announced in an email to students by President Laurie Carter that classes will be moved online through April 11.
Many questions, both from student-athletes as well as the rest of the student body at Shippensburg University, remain unanswered as we enter into an unprecedented time in an attempt to cope with the coronavirus.