Big East Tournament has been canceled


Mary Altaffer/AP

A few basketball fans watch as Creighton takes on St. John’s in in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.

NEW YORK — After discussing concerns around the coronavirus with the 10 teams, the Big East announced on Thursday they are canceling the rest of the tournament. The announcement came during halftime in the St. John’s-Creighton game at Madison Square Garden.

With the announcement coming during the break, the rest of the game will not be played, with the other three games that were planned for Thursday also being called off . The Big East is one of the last conferences to make this decision, with every other Power-6 league in the country making the same announcement earlier in the day.

“Following a call with our Presidents and Athletic Directors and additional consultation with the City of New York, the Big East conference has cancelled the remainder of our men’s basketball tournament, effective immediately,” the statement read. “We believe the decision is in the best interests of our participants and fans.”

On Wednesday, the conference also said there will be a limited amount of people allowed into Madison Square Garden for the rest of the tournament. That decision came on the heels after the NCAA said they will be playing their men’s and women’s basketball tournaments without any fans. But the Big East went a step further on Thursday with stopping the rest of the tournament.

DePaul was able to play its first round game against Xavier Wednesday night, with the Blue Demons coming away with a 71-67 victory. DePaul was slated to play Villanova Thursday night for a spot in the semifinals, but that game will not happen anymore. 

“This has been the most extraordinary stretch of days that I have ever seen in my 30-plus years of working in the sports business,” Big East commissioner Val Ackerman said during a press conference.  

The NCAA has yet to decide what they will do with their men’s and women’s basketball tournaments that are expected to start next week. The NBA became the first professional American sport to suspend their season last night after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the cornoavirus. Other sports around the world have also begun suspending their leagues, including basketball in China and multiple soccer leagues in Europe — with Major League Soccer also suspending its season on Thursday.