Less than three hours before the Loyola women’s basketball team was supposed to tip off play at the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) women’s basketball tournament, the league announced it was canceling the event and suspending all spring sporting events through March 30.
The tournament — better known as Hoops in the Heartland — was scheduled to take place in Moline, Illinois March 12-15, but was canceled out of precaution for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by coronavirus. Loyola was set to face Indiana State University in the play-in game Thursday night.
The suspension of MVC spring sporting events through March 30 affects the Loyola softball, golf and track and field teams. The men’s volleyball team plays in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA), but Loyola announced it’d be postponing the March 13 men’s volleyball match against Lewis University and canceling three non-conference matches over the next two weeks. The MIVA hadn’t released any update about the status of games as of publication.
The news comes the same day Loyola announced it would be transitioning to online classes for the rest of the semester and telling students to move out of residence halls within a week. Just Wednesday night, Loyola Athletics announced only players’ families, TV crews and “essential game personnel” would be allowed to attend games for the rest of the semester.
There have also been many other cancellations around the sports world. Four leagues — the NBA, NHL and Major League Soccer — announced they were suspending their seasons effective immediately in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Major League Baseball is delaying Opening Day by at least two weeks.
Multiple college athletics conferences, including the Power Five conferences, announced they were also canceling their conference tournaments. Major athletics programs, including Duke University and University of Kansas, also announced they were also suspending all athletics events indefinitely.