The Kansas basketball team has withdrawn from the 2020 NCAA Tournament. The news comes as the University of Kansas announced it would be suspending all travel for athletic activities indefinitely. Duke University had announced the same fate for their athletic department minutes earlier.
“Our highest priority at Kansas athletics is to ensure the safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff,” a statement from the university read.
“Based on the recommendation of our medical professionals, we have canceled all athletic travel indefinitely. In addition, all home and away athletic events have been suspended indefinitely. We will continue to monitor the situation and determine the next appropriate steps based on advice from our medical team.”
This is major news for March Madness with the Jayhawks currently holding the No. 1 ranking in the country. It was previously reported that the NCAA Tournament games would be played without fans, but now the fate of the tournament is in jeopardy.
“While we are disappointed for the players, it was the right and necessary thing to do,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “As I said yesterday, this is bigger than a sport or championship. I know our medical staff and the NCAA will research all avenues to determine the appropriate steps moving forward.”
The coronavirus outbreak has led to the cancellation or postponing of many large events including Coachella, SXSW, the Winter X Games, Stagecoach, Ultra Music Festival in Miami, and more. The NBA, NHL, and MLS have temporarily suspended their seasons, while the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be held without fans.
The coronavirus mainly comes from animals and a majority of those who were infected early either worked at or frequently visited the Huanan seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, according to The Guardian. The virus is similar to Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers).
The Wuhan coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through “droplet transmission.” That means an infected person can pass the virus by sneezing or coughing on another person as well as by direct contact.
While a majority of the cases have been detected in China, it has now reached many countries around the world including the United States. It has also been confirmed in Italy, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and many other eastern countries.