If There's an NCAA Tournament, Duke Won't Be There

Stephen Douglas
Coach K
Coach K / Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images
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The NCAA still has not officially canceled March Madness. Last we heard they were planning to move forward with the NCAA Tournament with no fans in attendance. If they continue to move forward with Selection Sunday and the tournament, they will do so without many of the top teams in the country.

On Thursday, Duke announced that they were suspending their sports programs. That is college basketball's ultimate blueblood institution. That is the team that drives ratings when Cinderella isn't available. They are ranked No. 10 in the country and a legitimate contender.

The fact that the NCAA has yet to cancel the tournament is both astounding and completely understandable. While conference tournaments are canceled and schools around the country shut down classrooms and spring sports, the greediest entity in sports marches towards one of the biggest money events in sports. Sixty-eight teams. Hundreds of unpaid athletes. Millions and millions of dollars. One pandemic.

If the NCAA trudges on with the competition, it will be with the only 68 schools in the country that will allow their basketball teams to travel. They can seed whoever they want on Sunday, but most of those teams will be disbanded by the time the First Four is supposed to tip off.

Duke is just taking the lead. Others will follow. It's just a matter of meetings ending and more cases being confirmed in each campus community. For once the people with students' best interests in mind are going to win over those advocating for the student athletes to play on. Sports are lost for now. Only total surrender will help the rest of us move on.

UPDATE: This post originally said Kansas had pulled out of the tournament based on the statement below which says, "we have canceled all athletic travel indefinitely." A Kansas official said they have not.

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