Grappling with mounting concerns with the rapidly evolving coronavirus pandemic, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey moved to cancel or suspend much of the league’s ongoing and upcoming athletic activity on Thursday.
The men’s basketball tournament was canceled before the Gamecocks could even take the floor, and the equestrian and gymnastics championships were called off as well. Additionally, SEC baseball — which was set to open league play this weekend — is now on pause until March 30. Sankey also placed a moratorium on both on- and off-campus recruiting until March 30.
One question mark is spring football practices and games. So far, it sounds like Sankey is leaving that decision up to individual schools, but South Carolina officials have yet to address it. On the academic side of things, USC elected to extend its spring break another week, and move all classes online until April 3.
The biggest elephant in the room, however, is the fate of the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournaments (and I suppose the NIT as well). Despite the cancellation of just about every conference tournament — Power 5 and otherwise — no announcement has been made about March Madness. It’s hard to expect those events to go off without a hitch, given the suspension of the NBA, NHL, and MLS seasons (as well as the cancellation of MLB’s spring training), but I suppose the possibility still exists. It’s been an extremely crazy 36 or so hours in the sports world, so we’ll see how this continues to unfold.
4:19 p.m. UPDATE: The Gamecocks won’t hold spring football practice next week, which makes sense with the extension of spring break. Most shockingly — although not surprisingly — the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournaments are officially canceled. Really hate this for all student-athletes, but especially the seniors and South Carolina’s women’s team, which would have been the favorite for another national championship. Damn, man.