Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and AAC Cancel Tournaments Because of Coronavirus Outbreak

The Big Ten, SEC, Big 12 and AAC tournaments have been canceled as the outbreak of coronavirus grinds sport to a halt.

The decision comes one day after the NCAA announced that the men's and women's basketball March Madness tournaments would be played behind closed doors.

The Big Ten Tournament began on Wednesday in Indianapolis and four second-round matchups were scheduled for Thursday, but the league announced the remainder of the tournament was canceled with immediate effect.

"The Big Ten 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," it said in a statement.

The SEC, whose tournament was based in Nashville, struck a similar tone.

"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," it said.

ALERT: 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.

— Southeastern Conference (@SEC) March 12, 2020

The AAC tournament, which was due to begin on Thursday in Fort Worth, Texas, met a similar fate.

Commissioner Mike Aresco said in a press release the cancelation was a "proactive decision to protect the safety, health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff."

Atlantic 10, American, WAC and Conference USA have also called off their tournaments but, at the time of writing, the Big East was still evaluating whether to cancel its conference tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

America East, Big West, MAAC, MEAC, Southland and SWAC were also yet to make a decision.

Big 12 basketball
A general view of the interior of the Sprint Center as no fans will be allowed inside the remainder of the Big 12 tournament games at the Sprint Center on March 12 in Kansas City, Missouri. Jamie Squire/Getty

News of the cancelation comes a day after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first NBA player to test positive for coronavirus.

Shortly after news of Gobert's positivity emerged, the Jazz's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder was postponed and the NBA immediately suspended the season until further notice.

"The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of Wednesday's schedule of games until further notice," the league wrote in a statement posted to its website. "The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.''

Less than 12 hours later, ESPN reported Gobert's teammate Donovan Mitchell had also tested positive for coronavirus.

Also on Thursday, the MLS announced games will be suspended for a month, following the example set by soccer leagues in Italy, Spain and Portugal. Games in France and Germany are expected to go ahead behind closed doors.

ATP said all tennis tournaments would be suspended for six weeks, while the PGA confirmed events would go ahead without fans for a month at least beginning with Friday's second round of The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

Over 1,300 cases have been reported in the U.S., with 38 deaths and eight people recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University.

As this chart provided by Statista shows, over 4,600 people have died since the outbreak of coronavirus began in Wuhan, a city located in China's central Hubei province, late last year. There are over 126,000 cases globally, with 68,000 recovered.

Coronavirus, COVID-19, Statista
A map showing the spread of COVID-19 as of March 12. Statista