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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

SEC Tournament canceled, all regular season play put on hold

Gators basketball team.
Gators basketball team.

The SEC is suspending regular season play and championship games in all sports across the SEC’s 14 member schools.

This announcement came after the SEC suspended regular season play and championship games in all sports across the SEC’s 14 member schools.

“This does not apply to teams and individuals in NCAA competition, at this time,” the announcement from the conference read.

The suspension of competition applies until at least March 30. Affected sports at UF include: men’s basketball, baseball, softball, gymnastics, lacrosse, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis and men’s and women’s track and field. Not including NCAA events, such as the NCAA Tournament for men’s basketball, or Track and Field Indoor Championships, among others, there are 42 regular season games, meets or matches across Gators athletics that will be affected.

Florida will also not participate in non-conference play during this suspension of play.

Per an announcement from the University Athletic Association, "The Gators Ticket Office will automatically refund all ticket purchases for events scheduled to take place from March 13 to March 30."

This announcement came 30 minutes after the conference canceled the SEC Tournament Thursday afternoon. The release regarding the canceled tournament from the conference’s official Twitter account cited “the continued spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).”

Just after noon, the SEC released a statement further explaining the cancellation in which commissioner Greg Sankey said, "While this was not an easy decision, the health and well-being of our entire SEC community is of paramount importance.”

Kentucky, which holds the No. 8 spot in the AP Poll, was awarded the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats went 15-3 against SEC opponents this season and swept the Gators.

This decision follows the Ivy League’s move to send the regular-season winner for both the men’s (Yale) and women’s (Princeton) teams to March Madness. The Ivy League was the first Division I conference to make such a decision and was widely criticized when the announcement was originally made on Tuesday.

The first two games of the SEC Tournament were played last night with Georgia beating Ole Miss 81-63 and Arkansas beating Vanderbilt 86-73. Both games were played in Nashville in front of fans despite NCAA President Mark Emmert’s announcement earlier in the day that championship events, including the NCAA Tournament, be played without fans in attendance.

All Power 5 (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, SEC, Pac-12) tournaments have been canceled. The ACC announced that regular-season conference champion No. 4 Florida State will represent the league in the NCAA Tournament with the league’s automatic bid. For the Pac-12, regular-season champion No. 13 Oregon will represent the conference in the NCAA Tournament. Other announcements were not immediately made from Power 5 conferences

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Additionally, Florida teams will continue to practice but not travel or compete, as of Thursday afternoon. The football team’s spring practices, which are traditionally open to the public at select times, will now be closed. Coach Dan Mullen's speaking tour has also been affected, with the UAA saying "It will not be held at this time."

No announcements have been made regarding the Spring Game, which is scheduled for April 18, well after the current hiatus is scheduled to end.

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