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NCAA Tournament canceled as COVID-19 pandemic shakes the sports industry

All winter and spring championships are canceled.

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Villanova vs Kansas Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

The last 24 hours have flipped the United States on its head in the wake of the COVID-19 endemic.

The NBA suspended league play Wednesday night after Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus. Most conference basketball tournaments, as well as the NCAA Tournament, announced that games would be held without fans. Then nearly all of conferences canceled the tournaments all together, including the Big Ten. More pro sports leagues suspended their seasons. The list goes on and on.

And now another unprecedented domino has fallen.

The NCAA announced Thursday afternoon that all winter and spring championships have officially been canceled, including both the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

“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 NCAA said in a press release.

The Maryland women’s basketball team clinched a share of the conference’s regular season title before going on to win the Big Ten tournament. Brenda Frese’s squad was on a 17-game winning streak and projected as a No. 1 seed.

The Terrapin men’s basketball finished the regular season in a three-way tie for the Big Ten title. The team boasting a 24-7 overall record, including an 14-6 mark in conference, and was ranked No. 12 in the nation in the latest AP Top 25.

This season was the team’s best chance at making a deep March Madness run in quite some time, but now the world will never know just how far it could’ve gone.