The NCAA announced that it is cancelling its annual March Madness basketball tournament Thursday due to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.
The tournament features the top 68 teams playing at venues across the country. This year, the final four teams were supposed to play at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
"Today, NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors, canceled the Division 1 men's and women's 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships," the NCAA said in a statement. "This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to the spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during the academic year.
The economic impact from the cancellation of the collegiate post season could be in the billions as hotels, restaurants and other ancillary tourism industries will not have the benefit of the influx of basketball fans that has become a staple of the tournament.