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Coronavirus update: Ivy League cancels conference basketball tournaments amid outbreak concerns

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FILE – In this March 17, 2019, file photo, Yale players pose for a photograph with the championship trophy after defeating Harvard in an NCAA college basketball game for the Ivy League championship at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. The Ivy League on Tuesday, March 10, 2020, canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments because of concerns about the spread of coronavirus. The four-team tournaments were scheduled to be played Friday through Sunday at Lavietes Pavilion in Cambridge. The Ivy League instead will award its automatic NCAA Tournament bids to the regular-season champions, the Princeton women and Yale men. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

CAMBRIDGE, Ma. – The Ivy League announced Tuesday that it is canceling both its men’s and women’s conference basketball tournaments amid the growing coronavirus outbreak concerns. In a release, the conference referenced the advisory of medical health professionals in aiding with the decision to put a stop to the annual postseason event.

“We understand and share the disappointment with student-athletes, coaches and fans who will not be able to participate in these tournaments,” Ivy League executive director Robin Harris said in a news release. “Regrettably, the information and recommendations presented to us from public health authorities and medical professionals have convinced us that this is the most prudent decision.”

The league also cited the guidance of public health and medical professionals to “discourage and limit large gatherings on campuses” amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Yale, which won the league’s regular-season championship, will represent the league in the men’s NCAA Tournament. Meanwhile, Princeton earned the bid to the women’s NCAA Tournament.

The NCAA’s coronavirus advisory panel recently announced it was not recommending cancellation or public spacing of athletic and related events in the U.S. However, some individual teams and conferences have already taken precautionary measures of their own as the coronavirus outbreak continues to affect public gatherings around the world. The Ivy League has now taken the most drastic of measures in halting the respective conference tournaments.

In the wake of the Ivy League conference tournament cancellations, the NCAA reiterated its stance as it pertains to the protocol moving forward as the NCAA Tournament approaches.

“NCAA member schools and conferences make their own decisions regarding regular season and conference tournament play,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a news release. “As we have stated, we will make decisions on our events based on the best, most current public health guidance available. Neither the NCAA COVID-19 advisory panel, made up of leading public health and infectious disease experts in America nor the CDC or local health officials have advised against holding sporting events. In the event circumstances change, we will make decisions accordingly.”

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