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Big 12 Tournament Cancelled Because of the Coronavirus

Cody Nespor

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This morning the Big 12 conference has announced that the Big 12 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments have been canceled until further notice.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced last night that the tournaments would be played without fans, but this morning made the decision to cancel them entirely.

“After consultation with our board of directors is was decided that canceling these championships was in the best interest of the health and safety of our student-athletes,” Bowlsby said.

In a press release, the Big 12 said the possibility of conducting further Big 12 championships will be evaluated on April 15.

The men’s tournament started last night with Oklahoma State defeating Iowa State and Kansas State defeating TCU.

Texas and Texas Tech were scheduled to play at 12:30 EST today but were reportedly pulled off the floor during warmups.

WVU athletic director Shane Lyons and coaches said in a release that they all agree with the Big 12’s decision.

“The situation is fluid and the safety of all involved has to be the priority,” Lyons said. “Yesterday, the conference made a decision based on the best information available at that time. Today, the Big 12 acted swiftly and appropriately to further ensure that we do our part in containing COVID-19. While everyone is disappointed, based on the information provided by health care officials, this decision is the right call.”

West Virginia’s men’s team was set to play Oklahoma at 9 p.m. EST tonight.

“Obviously, I’m disappointed for our team, our staff and all of Mountaineer Nation, particularly in light as to how our team responded so well in recent games and practices after a tough stretch of the season,” men’s coach Bob Huggins said. “However, this is a very serious matter globally and the health and safety of all involved is the priority.”

WVU’s women’s team was going to play Texas Friday at 8:30 p.m. EST.

“We’re very disappointed, but we understand why the tournament was called off,” women’s coach Mike Carey said. “I feel bad for the seniors that didn’t have an opportunity to play in this tournament or even for the young underclassmen. The Big 12 is doing everything they can to ensure safety for everybody, and we understand why this is occurring. But I feel bad, especially, for the seniors on the team.”

The Big 12 now joins the American, Big 10, SEC, ACC, Pac 12 and Conference USA in canceling their conference tournaments.

This story was updated at 12:43 to include a statement from Bob Bowlsby.

This story was updated at 2:04 to include comments from Shane Lyons, Bob Huggins and Mike Carey.

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Cody is currently a second-year graduate student at West Virginia University studying journalism. His graduate research focuses on the effects newspaper closures have on local communities. He graduated from Slippery Rock University in 2018 with a degree in digital media production. He was born and raised in Mercer, Pennsylvania.

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