Remainder of Big Ten tourney, IU spring game canceled

The ever-widening effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the college sports world continued Thursday, hitting Indiana’s basketball and football programs.

The rest of the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis has been canceled. IU, the No. 11 seed, had been scheduled to face No. 6-seeded Penn State in a second-round game Thursday night.

IU also announced its spring football game, scheduled for April 17 at Memorial Stadium, has been canceled.

These are just more twists, the pace of which began speeding up Wednesday night when the NBA decided to suspend its season. The Big Ten had already decided to hold its second-round games of the basketball tournament without fans. Spring sports were slated to continue without fans, as well.

The initial statement from the Big Ten said the conference will use this time to “work with the appropriate medical experts and institutional leadership to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“The main priority of the Big Ten Conference continues to be the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all developing and relevant information on the COVID-19 virus,” the statement added.

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren called members schools for input this morning before deciding to ultimately cancel. Players from Michigan and Rutgers were on the floor at Bankers Life Fieldhouse about an hour before their scheduled noon contest.

That game never tipped.

“I had to make sure I was comfortable, that I had spoken to the appropriate people,” Warren told reporters at a news conference in Bankers Life Fieldhouse. “You don’t want to rush these decisions. It would have been great if it could have been two hours earlier this morning, but it wasn’t. And I think the biggest thing is we made the right decision, I feel very good with our decision, I’m very confident with our decision.

“We have a fiduciary responsibility in the Big Ten to always show leadership, especially in tough times. I think that’s something that we did, to do the right thing.”

Warren also said Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg’s health scare the night before — which turned out to be a case of the flu — was just “one piece” of the decision-making process. During an 89-64 loss to IU, Hoiberg was visibly unwell and eventually left the court. He was taken to the hospital to be evaluated, and Nebraska’s players were temporarily quarantined in their locker room postgame.

“I feel confident I would have come to the same decision this morning, with or without that,” Warren said.

Cancelations and postponements continued throughout the day. Duke announced it was suspending play for all of its athletic teams. Kansas suspended all home and away athletic events, as well. Penn State specifically postponed all football-related activities, including recruiting and the program’s pro day.

Shortly after 3 p.m., the Atlantic Coast Conference suspended all athletic competition, including championship events. It was then reported by FloTrack that all ACC and Big Ten indoor track teams had been instructed to withdraw from the NCAA championship meet.

IU athletics also distributed its own release Thursday morning, outlining how attendance restrictions will play out. Among the announcements was the cancellation of the spring football game.

Spring football practice, as of now, continues on. But all spring sports will shut out fans, only admitting “essential personnel,” which includes “student-athletes, coaches, event staff, essential team and conference staff, TV network partners, credentialed media, and immediate family members of the participating teams.”

The release stated that these restrictions will be in place for the remainder of the spring seasons for men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s and women’s track and field, men’s and women’s tennis, baseball, softball, water polo, men’s and women’s golf, and the men’s and women’s swimming and diving seasons.

Regardless, IU baseball’s weekend series with Memphis will not go on as scheduled. At 4 p.m., the American Athletic Conference announced the suspension of all of its spring sports.

As far as previously purchased tickets, whether for IU spring sports or the Big Ten basketball tournament, IU’s release said those refunds will be processed automatically to whichever method of payment was used.


  1. 2018-2019 IU basketball program injuries etc reasons for unsuccessful season. 2019-2020 a corona reason for unsuccessful Big Ten tournament and March Madness tournament runs.
    IU basketball program moving forward?

    Schools are temporarily closing which I totally agree with based on information. However, do kids stay in the house? Not visit one another? Go to movies? Go to the store? Play? Go to stores? Get restless and socialize? Make contact with others? Do kid things? Etc? Young kids and teenagers and college students and adults young and old?

  2. Well, AWinAZ, I most certainly hope you were “one of the fans” who “booed” when the announcement was made that “no spectators’ would be at any future Big 10 Championships last night! And now there will be no spectators at all, anywhere, because there will be NO Big 10 Championship.

    I was really looking forward to IU vs Penn State, in part because of my bold prediction and subsequent pledge.

    I am just hoping that it was not because of my ‘bold prediction’ that the game was canceled!

    1. Damn Rock. ‘Hope you Booed’. ?? That’s crazy talk man. I worked health care including the AIDs thing in Cali before it was named and in a number of yrs in Infection Control. It’s
      sad and in many cases devastating . The kids will get through this with none or mild issues. We, the fans, can bitch and moan – who cares. This whole thing was screwed up by the President babbling w/o thought – “If you have the virus – go to work”. So many politician’s have said so many stupid things but that was downright dangerous.

      So does IU end up tied for first place? (we played the game and won)
      I do feel bad for the kids and the seniors – played their last college game and didn’t know it.

  3. 2 weeks ago:

    Harvard for Hillbillies says:
    March 2, 2020 at 12:52 am

    Another year of possibly no March Madness…Concerned.

    Question: Will I live to see “Miller Time” before dying from a Corona?

    As soon as the outbreaks started hitting the state of Washington, I feared/suspected this was coming. None of these decisions needed to be last minute. Corona has spread like wildfire wherever it has taken root. Greed steps in and makes all decisions far too reactionary.

  4. Movie theaters are probably one of the worst places people can go right now. Even without a pandemic, the arm rests in a movie theater are some of the filthiest surfaces a person can touch in our society.

  5. Hey folks, here’s a resource I’d love to pass along. I was on a conference call with about 500 biz people from around the country who listened to this fella talk about what’s up with coronavirus. His name is Michael Osterholm and he is an internationally recognized expert in infectious disease epidemiology. This has been the best thing I’ve heard on the subject. Really thoughtful guy. Cuts through a lot of myths, bro-science, media misinformation and gives us hope for what we CAN do and how things will likely shake out.

    He was on Joe Rogan a couple days ago.

  6. Ron, let’s hear from AWinAZ before rushing to conclusions.
    AWinAZ, I want to hear from you on the reaction.

    To your more important point, R.: Yes, I do believe that we can go around to anyone who will listen and state that we won the Big 10 Tournament. Yes, Minnesota won too, but they beat the # 14 team.

    H4h, do you think a banner is appropriate? (I do I do I do)

    1. ROCK et al,
      I didn’t physically “boo” because I was absolutely dumbfounded. To me what sense did it make to play any game with players, refs & ANY fans like family, media personnel, etc….in the same venue. That decision to LIMIT vs. POSTPONE seemed insane to me last night & still does today. That decision should’ve been made a month ago. I firmly believe decisions to POSTPONE these events could’ve & should’ve been made weeks ago & we’d be looking forward to April Madness. China locked down their whole country & to many degrees still has. I’m (un)lucky enough to be at a company whose factory is in China. I’ve seen this unfold & they executed very swiftly. Enough of my opinion on that topic…..

      I stumbled upon the team hotel today around 2pm. Met their bus driver Don. Real good guy. Saw the team very briefly in the hallway, gave them my support & the looks on their faces were unforgettable. I believe they knew the NCAA was scrapped when I saw them. I certainly didn’t know yet & the decision to cancel the NCAA wasn’t public. Our team looked like someone just died.

  7. Allow me to rephrase the question:

    WHERE do you think this 2020 BIG Championship banner be raised in Simon-Skojdt Assembly Hall?

    May I make a suggestion? Make that banner so big that it COVERS those luxury suites and make it transluent so that the souls isolated in their luxury booths can look out (and view) the game and surroundings if they choose, but that we in the assembly, when we look towards our benefactors, cannot see them but can only see “2020 BIG ” (thereby providing them the privacy they earned).

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