March Madness Cancellation Devastates Basketball Community

By Tori McDermott, Sports Editor

Photo by Caroline Frederiksen, Photo Editor

Sixty-eight teams, five and a half months, four regions, one champion. This grueling effort made by each division-one college basketball team is what gives them a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be the college basketball national champion. However, as of March 15th, 2020, National College Athletic Association Senior Vice President of Basketball, Dan Gavitt, had made the decision to cancel both the men’s and women’s national tournament due to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. 

 What started out as a rumor quickly became a reality for both the fans, players and coaches of the college basketball teams when the news broke that the tournament would not take place in 2020. Gavitt released an official statement of the cancelation. “The disappointment and heartbreak we all feel for student-athletes unable to compete is significant, yet nothing is ever more important than the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and fans,” Gavitt said. 

This news came as a true disappointment felt all over the country. Initial statements were released suggesting that the tournament be played without fans but the committee felt the safest decision for both players and fans was to cancel it altogether. This news also followed the statement declaring that the remaining NBA season would also be canceled.  

 As expected, there were many upset members of the Harpeth Hall community when this news broke. Each year, many students, faculty, and staff look forward to the competitive nature of the tournament as their favorite teams compete. 

“I can’t imagine what these young women and men are dealing with, knowing that they can not participate in this year’s NCAA and NIT tournaments, something they have worked so hard to achieve and for so long,” Harpeth Hall Head Varsity Basketball Coach Frank Kornet said. 

However, Kornet also said, “although it is painful to miss out on all of these special experiences, we know that what we are doing now will save lives.” The efforts made to reduce the spread of the coronavirus which come with many sacrifices. 

While many athletes were affected, there were also many Harpeth Hall activities that were affected by the cancellation. Every year, the student council runs a student March Madness bracket where students predict the winner of the tournament. In past years, this has been a fun and exciting time where students can win prizes and participate in a community event. However, due to the cancelation of the tournament and of school closings, students were not able to participate this year. 

While many hours of practice and games all come to an end without a final conclusion, staying home is the best option in this uncertain time. While it seems a small act, it is the most important way fans, players and coaches can stay healthy and safe. 

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