Editor’s Note: This post has been updated and includes information from yesterday’s news and be sure to keep returning to this post as it will continue to be updated with more information as it becomes available.
The same day the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the Coronavirus (COVID-19) a ‘pandemic’, the NCAA sprung into action Wednesday afternoon. The NCAA basketball and hockey tournaments will be played without fans. And, this announcement further impacts other NCAA sports which Denver plays in the spring. Denver is scheduled to host Omaha in NCHC first-round hockey action this upcoming weekend, Denver hockey is hosting the Loveland NCAA Hockey Regionals March 27th and 28th and Denver Gymnastics is hosting NCAA Regionals April 2-4th at Magness Arena.
3/12/2020, 11:04 AM Update:
Now, a day later, after the NBA suspended their season when Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell contracted the virus in Oklahoma City, cancellations are becoming real. Each of the Power Five basketball conferences have canceled their postseason tournaments and just this morning, Atlantic Hockey and the ECAC have canceled their own postseason hockey tournaments. The NCHC is the third hockey conference to cancel its tournament and an announcement with respect to the NCAA Tournament – after already closing its games to the public – is expected later today.
The NCHC’s statement concerning the tournament’s cancellation is below:
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The National Collegiate Hockey Conference and its member institutions, in coordination with Xcel Energy Center, have announced the 2020 NCHC Tournament has been cancelled effective immediately.
NCHC Frozen Faceoff ticket refunds are available at point of purchase. Online orders will be automatically canceled and refunded. Fans looking for a refund of their NCHC Quarterfinal round tickets should contact their athletic department’s ticket office.
More information will be provided to fans in the coming days.
It remains unclear if outdoor DU sports like men’s and women’s lacrosse, tennis and/or golf are affected by COVID-19, though if the past 36 hours are any indication, it appears likely all sports are going to be put on hold for the foreseeable future.
We are waiting to hear about the specific impacts on these events.
3/11/2020, 7:58 PM Update:
The University of Denver has announced that all Winter Quarter final exams – which start next Tuesday – will occur online, all Spring Break interterm classes have been canceled, and all classes will be held in an online format at least through April 10th. This is the latest update in relation to the spread of COVID-19 as it affects DU. While there are no confirmed cases related to DU, this is a necessary precaution to slow the spread and ensure we keep as many people as possible healthy.
See the tweet and associated link below for the Chancellor’s message:
— University of Denver (@UofDenver) March 12, 2020
3/11/2020, 7:52 PM Update:
The National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) has announced that all four NCHC Quarterfinal matchups this weekend will go on without fans as well. That includes Denver’s matchups against Omaha at Magness Arena Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, if necessary. The statement reads as follows:
Following the lead of the NCAA, best practices of others, and at the recommendation of local and state health officials regarding COVID-19, the NCHC and its member institutions have decided that the four NCHC Quarterfinal Series this weekend (March 13-15) will be closed to the public. Attendance will be restricted to only student-athletes, coaches, event and team staff, credentialed media and student-athlete family members.
Fans looking for a refund of their NCHC Quarterfinal round tickets should contact their athletic department’s ticket office. Because the NCHC Quarterfinal round games are closed to the public, the conference has made the decision to make all streams this weekend free to the public on NCHC.tv.
The decision to have limited attendance was made for the safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, staff, media and fans. The conference, in consultation with member school leadership and health agencies, is constantly monitoring all relevant information regarding COVID-19 to make any further decisions about the future of the NCHC Tournament.
3/11/2020, 4:42 PM Update:
The NCAA just announced its refund process for those with tickets to the regional events. The tweet below contains information related to that:
Updated ticket information for NCAA Championship events closed to public.
— NCAA Ice Hockey (@NCAAIceHockey) March 11, 2020
Statement from the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel on NCAA events
The NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel recognizes the fluidity of COVID-19 and its impact on hosting events in a public space. COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in the United States, and behavioral risk mitigation strategies are the best option for slowing the spread of this disease. This is especially important because mildly symptomatic individuals can transmit COVID-19. Given these considerations, coupled with a more unfavorable outcome of COVID-19 in older adults – especially those with underlying chronic medical conditions – we recommend against sporting events open to the public. We do believe sport events can take place with only essential personnel and limited family attendance, and this protects the players, employees, and fans.
College Hockey News published the following this morning:
This decision will impact the entire NCAA hockey tournament — including Regionals and Frozen Four.
The Regionals are scheduled for March 27-29 in Allentown, Pa., Loveland, Colo., Worcester, Mass., and Albany, N.Y. The Frozen Four is April 9-11 in Detroit.
NCAA president Mark Emmert followed with a statement of his own.
“I have made the decision to conduct our upcoming championship events, including the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, with only essential staff and limited family attendance. While I understand how disappointing this is for all fans of our sports, my decision is based on the current understanding of how COVID-19 is progressing in the United States. This decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of coaches, administrators, fans and, most importantly, our student-athletes. We recognize the opportunity to compete in an NCAA national championship is an experience of a lifetime for the students and their families. Today, we will move forward and conduct championships consistent with the current information and will continue to monitor and make adjustments as needed.”
We will continue to update this article as we receive more information.