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BREAKING: MAC Basketball Tournaments Cancelled Over Coronavirus Concerns

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — Mid-American Conference commissioner Jon Steinbrecher announced early Thursday afternoon that the remainder of the conference tournament will be cancelled.

“We have been meeting all morning with our directors of athletics and presidents talking about the appropriate path forward,” Steinbrecher said. “We’ve also been paying attention to the world around us.”

The world around them, particularly the sports world, has been dealing with the fallout of the shocking news that members of the NBA’s Utah Jazz had contracted the virus. The NBA ultimately made the decision to suspend their season in light of the news.

The Jazz were in Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse to play a game on March 2, but Cleveland Cavaliers officials affirmed that there was no risk posed to the student-athletes, coaches or anyone else that has attended the MAC Tournament.

“We go through an extensive sanitation process after every event and there have been five events since the Jazz were in town,” Cavs CEO Len Komoroski said. “Beyond that as well, the timeline obviously with the affected player with the Jazz, from what we’re understanding based on incubation period and actually where symptoms appear.

“And given the length of time would suggest that the risk was very low that the affected player actually had contracted it and had that while he was in Cleveland.”

Steinbrecher also confirmed that no member of the MAC Tournament staff had come in contact with the affected member of the Jazz.

The MAC became a member on a long list of conferences that cancelled their basketball tournaments around Noon on Thursday, coming just two days after the MAC was the first conference to close off their tournament to the general public.

“We’ve been in communication for well over a week on different actions people were taking,” Steinbrecher said. “Clearly we stepped out early on some procedures we were implementing for our tournament. 

“Then last night and then today unfolded. We’re taking temperatures of what was going on around us as well, but at the end of the day it’s a decision we have to make.”

Steinbrecher also mentioned that if the NCAA Tournament were to continue as scheduled, or be played at a later date, the MAC representatives would be the regular season champions, Akron for the men, Central Michigan for the women.

No members of either the Ohio Men’s or Women’s team were made available for content in the immediate aftermath of the announcement.

UPDATE: As of 5 p.m. on Thursday, the NCAA has cancelled both the Men’s and Women’s basketball tournaments as well as the entirety of the Spring sports schedule. There likely will be no college athletics until next school year.