Knoxville Breaking News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | WBIR.com

SEC cancels all remaining 2019-20 season games due to coronavirus

The SEC announced Thursday the remainder of the tournament will no longer go on.

UPDATE (3/17/2020): The SEC has announced it will be canceling all remaining regular season conference and non-conference games for the 2019-2020 athletic year due to continued developments with the coronavirus.

The SEC made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday:

UPDATE (3/12/2020): The SEC has announced it is canceling the remainder of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament in Nashville as well all regular season competitions in all sports on all SEC campuses until April 15 due to coronavirus concerns.

"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," the SEC tweeted.

Tennessee was scheduled to play Alabama at 1 p.m. on  Thursday.

The SEC said automatic full ticket refunds will be made by March 31 to fans who made purchases from the SEC Office, an SEC university, or SEC Ticket Exchange.

Ticket holders seeking refunds for online purchases via secondary market sites must contact those vendors directly.

"We understand that this decision will be disappointing to our student-athletes and coaches who have been preparing all season to compete in this event as well as viewers at home," said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. "While this was not an easy decision, the health and well-being of our entire SEC community is of paramount importance."

The Big Ten Conference and the American Athletic Conference have also canceled the remainder of their Men's Basketball Tournaments.

RELATED: Big Ten, SEC, other conferences cancel men's basketball tournaments

RELATED: List of cancellations and closings in Knoxville and East Tennessee due to coronavirus concerns

RELATED: Major League Soccer suspends season for 30 days

On Thursday, the NCAA announced the cancellation of the upcoming men's and women's basketball tournaments.

Original Story: 

The Southeastern Conference has announced it will conduct the 2020 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament with only essential staff, limited family and credentialed media in attendance at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville for the remainder of the week beginning on Thursday following the recommendation of the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel related to conducting sporting events closed to the public. 

In addition, the SEC announced that all regular season contests in all sports on SEC campuses and SEC Championship events will be conducted with similar attendance restrictions effective Thursday, March 12 through at least March 30 at which time the conference and its member universities will re-evaluate conditions. 

“These are difficult circumstances to navigate, and we understand and support the conference’s decisions related to upcoming athletic events," Tennessee Athletics Director Phillip Fulmer said in a statement on Wednesday night. "From an institutional standpoint, we’ll continue to rely on the advice and expertise of public health authorities and the university’s Office of Emergency Management as we approach the coming days and weeks with the health of our student-athletes, staff and campus community at the forefront of our decision making.”

"After conferring with local and national health authorities, we remain confident in our ability to safeguard the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and other staff who will be participating as well as the limited number of family members and media who will be in attendance at the tournament," SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said on Wednesday.

"We regret the inconvenience and disappointment this decision has caused our fans, especially those who have already traveled to Nashville for the tournament."

For the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament, automatic refunds of ticket purchases will be made to fans who are the original purchaser of the tickets from SEC Office or an SEC university, or a verified purchaser on the SEC Ticket Exchange powered by Ticketmaster. For regular season events, each campus will determine refund policies and procedures. 

Tennessee will play Alabama in the second round of the SEC Tournament at 1 p.m. EST on Thursday. The game will be televised on SEC Network.