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

photo by: Associated Press

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)

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


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


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


More importantly, in light of this

global health crisis, I believe we

need to keep college basketball in


To be clear, this is my decision. The

basketball committees support and


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.


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