The Washington State Cougars postseason basketball drought will likely extend another year, though it will be for reasons out of their control. After previously receiving an invite to the College Basketball Invitational, tournament officials announced this morning this year’s edition would be cancelled due to concerns about COVID-19, also known as coronavirus.
Statement regarding the 2020 CBI pic.twitter.com/5SPabjpC1V— College BBall Invit. (@CBITourney) March 11, 2020
Numerous states have already placed restrictions on crowd gathering in the wake of and before the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a pandemic this morning. Washington is also restricting any social gathering or event of more than 250 people though that does not extend to Whitman County, only the Seattle metro area. WSU announced they are moving to online-only classes once school resumes after spring break this morning as well.
In the wake of more COVID-19 cases cropping up across the country along with more and more schools going online-only for lessons, this is not a surprise. A quirk about the the CBI is schools actually have to pay to participate and it’s likely none would make back their investment if arenas were devoid of fans. Although postseason basketball is always fun, playing to empty arenas for the third-best tournament out there is likely not palatable to any school that would have participated, let alone the risk of infection for their attendees that did choose to go to games.
WSU can still practice in certain areas until a week prior to finals, though whether they will or not is up in the air with the school moving to online-learning only.