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NCAA VP Dan Gavitt explains why no NCAA Tournament bracket was released on what would have been Selection Sunday

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Kansas center Udoka Azubuike looks up at the scoreboard during a timeout in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Ray Carlin)

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike looks up at the scoreboard during a timeout in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Ray Carlin) by Associated Press

For the past couple of days, Kansas basketball fans, along with fans of the college game in general, had held out hope that Selection Sunday might still be worth celebrating even with no NCAA Tournament to play beyond it.

The thinking was this: Even though the tournament will not be played because of growing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, it still would be fun to see what the bracket would have looked like so fans, players and coaches alike could see where their teams would have been seeded and sent in the weeks ahead.

With a bracket to glance at, at least some of the joys of March would still be in play, with debates about matchups, which teams got in and which didn’t and even predictions for the 2020 Final Four and national champion all helping take people’s minds off the global health crisis.

Sunday afternoon, a few hours before the bracket would have been released, Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s senior vice president of basketball, explained why that would not happen.

Below is Gavitt’s statement in full:

The world is experiencing a challenging health crisis with the coronavirus pandemic. It is an unsettling and concerning time in our history.

For those of us who love and treasure college basketball, it has resulted in the cancellation of NCAA basketball championships and an empty month that otherwise would be filled with tremendous excitement. The disappointment and heartbreak we all feel for student-athletes unable to compete is significant, yet nothing is ever more important than the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and fans.

When NCAA winter and spring championships were cancelled Thursday afternoon, the women’s basketball committee had yet to even commence their selection meeting, and the men’s basketball committee had only just begun their selection process. There were 19 men’s and 18 women’s conference tournaments that had yet to be completed when the NCAA championships were cancelled. A total of 132 men’s games and 81 women’s games were never played, resulting in those automatic qualifiers not being determined on the court.

The important work of the basketball committees is to set up competitively balanced brackets to determine national champions. I don’t believe it’s responsible or fair to do that with incomplete seasons – especially for tournaments that unfortunately won’t be played.

Therefore there will not be any NCAA Division I men’s and women’s basketball championship selection shows or tournament brackets released this year.

I have heard from many coaches and athletics directors who are trusted colleagues and friends that would like to see brackets released to recognize the successful seasons of their teams and student-athletes and to see who and where they would have played. Players and coaches want to see their school name on the bracket. Members of the media want to dissect matchups. Bracketologists want to compare the work of the committees versus what they’ve predicted. Fans are curious for those same reasons. All of us want something to fill the void we’re feeling.

However, anything less than a credible process is inconsistent with the tradition of the NCAA basketball championships. Brackets based on hypotheticals can’t substitute for a complete selection, seeding and bracketing process. There will always ben an asterisk next to the 2020 NCAA men’s and women’s basketball championships regardless if the brackets are released.

There is not an authentic way to produce tournament fields and brackets at this point without speculating and that isn’t fair to the teams that would be positively or negatively impacted by manufacturing March Madness.

More importantly, in light of this global health crisis, I believe we need to keep college basketball in perspective.

To be clear, this is my decision. The basketball committees support and concur.

Basketball family, please stay safe and I pray for the health of you and your loved ones. We will get through this pandemic and disappointing month of March together.

Comments

Kent Gaylor 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Matt -

Do you think Bill will ever tell us which region he picked? Would it be possible for you to find out?

Matt Tait 2 weeks, 5 days ago

I think he'd say. And I think it was Houston. Stand by.

Brian Wilson 2 weeks, 5 days ago

So KU wins....we are number One, let's hang the banner,

Kansas University 2020 National NCAA Basketball Champions

everyone else can just get over it! RCJHKU!

Brett McCabe 2 weeks, 5 days ago

The NCAA has handled each step of this process about as well as it could. They’ve done a good job in a difficult situation and should be recognized for that.

The goal now for us all is to flatten the curve, work together and beat this thing back. I have great hopes for 2020.

Dirk Medema 2 weeks, 5 days ago

There shouldn’t be an asterisk next to 2020. There should just be a big black hole.

Tony Bandle 2 weeks, 5 days ago

A Very Not Random Thought: Please allow me post the opposite side of the spectrum from the NCAA decision. This time is unprecedented since the last World War. The news is very serious and the steps being taken to at least try to shave off the incubation, spread, affliction time and recovery bell curb are necessary but, in some cases. quite scary. Something as familiar as the NCAA Bracket is EXACTLY what was needed to give people a break from the constant onslaught of, in some cases, terrifying potentials that the measures are trying to contain. No sports events, schools, plays, restaurants, crowds of more than 50 people, lack of tests, the viral nature of this pandemic, etc., etc., etc., are beating people down and pushing many into panic mode. Shortages are already showing up and the worse hasn't even begun. I feel that the leadership in all categories of our society should use whatever means necessary to give the public a little relief. No one is talking about it but half the entire base ball season may be gone. Coming out with a bracket even if 100% subjective would have been at least something to give everyone a break and something else to talk about. Outside of the stricken, who are being focused on, there are millions of collateral casualties. People losing income, their jobs, business opportunities, life experiences and so on. Every little beam of light is this dark time should be valued and utilized.

Bryce Landon 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Releasing any bracket for a tournament that's not going to happen would have been rubbing salt in the wound.

Armen Kurdian 2 weeks, 5 days ago

It would not have been fair to the teams that might have surprised with a conf tournament win that would have otherwise been selected. Joe Lunardi's bracket is usually about 95% accurate.

Tony Bandle 2 weeks, 5 days ago

The other side of the coin is that any recognition of KU's season and number one status, especially by the ruling body of the sport, would reinforce KU's options for putting up some type of season recognition banner.

Dane Pratt 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Honestly, I'd have rather had a North Carolina type of season. It would be far less painful.

RJ King 2 weeks, 5 days ago

nah ... it hurts more to lose something you love. And we truly loved this year's team - even though it took some people awhile to get on the defense-oriented bandwagon.

Rather have loved and lost, than never have loved at all.

Layne Pierce 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Nothing can take away what this team accomplished. They were undefeated on the road, which is truly incredible. They had to win nearly every game to stay close to Baylor and they did. It was Baylor that blinked.

Can't help but feel sorry for Silvio, it was a really tough year for him. And I hope he comes back and show everybody how good he really is. I was watching the KU Duke game to go to the final four last night, and Silvio played so well in that game. Unfortunately not playing takes its toll even if you can practice. Now the only part of the season left for him is gone.

Our defensive strength, and inside game and Devon to the basket, would have been a really tough out in the tournament.

Of course health comes first, but you have to wonder if the NCAA is secretly loving the fact that KU doesn't have a chance to win, especially given the combative nature of the relationship at the moment.

RCJH

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