On Thursday, March 12, the MAAC Council of Presidents unanimously voted to cancel the remainder of the MAAC basketball tournament in Atlantic City and the remainder of all spring sports competitions, events, and practices due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Just one day prior, the MAAC announced it would be continuing the remainder of the tournament limiting attendance to “essential team and conference staff.”
It came to what seemed to be a final head late Thursday afternoon when NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors canceled all remaining NCAA tournaments and championships.
The MAAC was the second to last conference to cancel, leaving only the MEAC. With conference championships postponing or canceling indefinitely one-by-one throughout the day, the plan was to send the regular-season champions to the NCAA tournament. By the end of the day, not a single tournament was set to continue. The Ivy League was the first conference to cancel their conference tournaments on March 10.
Marist announced at 5:46 p.m. in an email from President Dennis Murray to all students that spring break would be extended to Monday, March 30, “to monitor the risk of the outbreak.” There has been much speculation as to whether or not Marist will follow schools like Quinnipiac in moving the rest of the semester to an online format.
Once the cancellation of the remainder of the seasons was announced, there was an outpouring of support for athletes who saw their season cut short. ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt made called upon fans and followers to share the stories of senior seasons cut short, and many delivered.
The canceling of all college athletics and a March Madness tournament — not to mention a postponing of all professional sports until further notice — is, needless to say, unprecedented. No one has learned from others how to handle something like this, how to react, or how to move forward. The silver lining is that we live in an age where a publication like ours can continue on while we all follow proper precautions in protecting ourselves and others during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Center Field plans to continue publishing. While stories in circulation may not follow the mold that had been set before us, we will keep moving. We will continue to tell the important stories surrounding the Marist athletics community and we will continue to tell the stories of people, places, and sports that have become so important to the publication and the readers.
Edited by Will Bjarnar