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Texas A&M Basketball

DEVELOPING: SEC extends suspension date, NCAA may grant extra eligibility

March 11, 2020

Friday 5:25 p.m. update: Ross Bjork speaks about the current situation

Olin Buchanan reports on Bjork’s comments and the current new reality of college sports

Friday 3:20 p.m. update: Here’s the full release from the SEC:

The Southeastern Conference today announced that all athletics activities, including competitions, team and individual practices, meetings and other organized gatherings, will be suspended through at least April 15, due to continuing developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The SEC had previously announced that all competition was suspended until March 30. That suspension of competition has been extended through April 15 and now includes all organized team activities.

SEC athletics programs will cease practices, individual and team workouts effective the end of the day Friday, March 13. Team meetings shall conclude no later than 5 pm local time on Monday, March 16.

SEC member institutions will continue to provide their student-athletes with care and support to meet needs in areas including academics, medical care, mental health and wellness, nutrition and housing as needed.

Friday 3:00 p.m. update: The SEC just issued the following. Texas A&M AD Ross Bjork is addressing the media now, and we’ll have video of his address as soon as it’s available.

Friday 1:20 p.m. update: Yahoo’s Pete Thamel is reporting specific language in a letter from the NCAA to members about additional eligibility and a recruiting dead period. See his twitter thread below, but this is the language reported so far:

The (Committee) agreed that it will be appropriate to grant relief for the use of a season of competition for (athletes) who have participated in spring sports. The committee will also discuss issues related to seasons of competition for winter sport student-athletes who were unable to participate in conference and NCAA championships...

The committee recognizes that student-athletes are making life decisions that will be helped by understanding whether an additional season of competition would be available, and as such, will work in a timely manner to make informed decisions.

Finally, the committee will review and discuss the additional issues in a timely manner and decisions will be communicated to the membership as they are made.

On the dead period:

The dead period will remain in effect at least until April 15 , at which time the Council Coordination Committee will re-evaluate the status of the situation. Based on the immediate effective date, reasonable measures should be taken to cease all recruiting activities that are not permissible during a dead period (e.g., official and unofficial visits, contacts and evaluations).

Friday 12:35 p.m. update: It appears the NCAA is set to grant an extra year of eligibility to players who participated in spring (and possibly winter) sports. Details aren’t clear yet, but here’s a twitter thread from The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach with some language and additional info:

Thursday 5:25 p.m. update: Texas A&M classes are canceled next week, March 16-20, and will resume online from March 23-April 28. Campus will remain open to students, faculty, and staff. Details from the university

Thursday 5:10 p.m. update: Olin Buchanan reports from Nashville - SEC, Texas A&M making tough decisions amid rapidly-changing coronavirus news

Thursday 3:45 p.m. update: Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork visited with us about the decisions being made and their many implications. For context, this interview concluded just moments before the NCAA announced that all remaining winter and spring championships have been canceled.

Thursday 3:25 p.m. update: The NCAA has announced that the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments and all remaning winter and spring championships have been cancelled.

Thursday 12:50 p.m update: Greg Sankey says the March 30 date could be extended as evaluations are ongoing. He also noted that SEC schools are permitted to participate in NCAA competitions if they are held. We have a bit more from Sankey’s press conference on Twitter, and we’ll provide more detailed reporting and a link to the video as soon as it’s available.

Thursday 11:30 a.m. update: The SEC has canceled the remainder of the men's conference basketball tournament and has suspended all regular-season competition through March 30. We have word that Greg Sankey will hold a noon press conference to discuss these developments.

Full statement:

Based on the latest developments and the continued spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Southeastern Conference today announced the suspension of regular season competition for teams in all sports on SEC campuses, as well SEC championship events, until March 30.

This does not apply to teams and individuals in NCAA competition, at this time.

Thursday 11:00 a.m. update: The SEC has canceled the remainder of the men’s conference basketball tournament. Here’s the release from the conference:

Based on the latest developments and the continued spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Southeastern Conference today announced the cancellation of the remainder of the 2020 Men's Basketball Tournament in Nashville.

"We understand that this decision will be disappointing to our student-athletes and coaches who have been preparing all season to compete in this event as well as viewers at home," said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. "While this was not an easy decision, the health and well-being of our entire SEC community is of paramount importance."

The SEC's regular season champion, the University of Kentucky, will be awarded the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The SEC will provide additional updates on other scheduled SEC championship events as they become available. 


Wednesday evening:

The SEC announced on Wednesday evening that only essential staff, limited family and credentialed media will be allowed into conference events through at least March 30. Those changes will most immediately affect the men’s conference basketball tournament in Nashville, but they extend to all SEC events on all SEC campuses beginning Thursday, March 12. The restriction will continue through the end of March at which time conditions will be re-evaluated.

The announcement came amid a cascade of major news on the same day the World Health Organization declared coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic. Hours later, President Trump announced a 30-day restriction on travel from Europe to the United States. Other notable impacts in the sports world include the NCAA imposing the same attendance restrictions on its upcoming championship basketball tournaments and the NBA suspending its season.

As the SEC released the statement below, conference commissioner Greg Sankey addressed the issue on the SEC Network.

The SEC’s statement in full:

The Southeastern Conference has announced it will conduct the 2020 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament with only essential staff, limited family and credentialed media in attendance at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville for the remainder of the week beginning on Thursday following the recommendation of the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel related to conducting sporting events closed to the public.

In addition, the SEC announced that all regular season contests in all sports on SEC campuses and SEC Championship events will be conducted with similar attendance restrictions effective Thursday, March 12 through at least March 30 at which time the conference and its member universities will re-evaluate conditions.

The SEC issued a statement from SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey:

"In light of recent developments beyond our control related to the spread of the coronavirus, including a recommendation from the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel, and after consultation with our member universities, we have made the difficult decision to hold the 2020 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament in Nashville without spectators beginning with games of Thursday, March 12. Effective immediately, the policy will also apply to other SEC Championship events and on-campus regular season games scheduled through at least the end of March.

"After conferring with local and national health authorities, we remain confident in our ability to safeguard the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and other staff who will be participating as well as the limited number of family members and media who will be in attendance at the tournament.

"We regret the inconvenience and disappointment this decision has caused our fans, especially those who have already traveled to Nashville for the tournament."

As previously announced, the SEC has implemented the following enhanced health measures for the 2020 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament:

Use of hospital grade disinfectant to sanitize locker rooms before teams arrive and immediately upon departure;

Sanitization of game balls with hospital grade disinfectant after each practice and game;

Sanitization of team benches plus band and cheerleader seating areas following each game;

Hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes and Lysol spray in team locker rooms;

Hand sanitizers at scorer's table, in officials' locker rooms, operations offices and media areas.

For the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament, automatic refunds of ticket purchases will be made to fans who are the original purchaser of the tickets from SEC Office or an SEC university, or a verified purchaser on the SEC Ticket Exchange powered by Ticketmaster. For regular season events, each campus will determine refund policies and procedures.

The SEC Network will televise the entire first and second round of the tournament and the quarterfinals evening session. ESPN will broadcast the afternoon session of the quarterfinals, both semifinal matchups and the championship game.

The SEC remains in continued communication with public health officials and reminds everyone to be attentive to everyday preventive actions identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (

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