48 hours was all that it took for COVID-19 to stall the realm of sports and all of those participating in it. As the news of different collegiate conferences and professional sports suspending their seasons became public, a domino effect unfolded, and Valpo was just one of the many dominos that fell later throughout the week.
The first domino fell on Tuesday morning when the Ivy League cancelled both the men and women’s basketball conference tournaments. On Wednesday, the College Basketball Invitational was cancelled and the NCAA began to advise against fans.
As the rest of Wednesday and Thursday rolled on, the Big Ten, Atlantic Coast Conference, Pac-12, Southeastern Conference, Big Eas, and the Western Athletic Conference closed off and cancelled their own respected conference tournaments for March Madness.
NCAA sealed the deal Thursday afternoon when they cancelled all remaining winter and spring championships, which included all collegiate basketball tournaments.
To follow up on the hectic week, the NCAA suspended recruiting for all sports on and off campus until April 15th, according to a source from CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein.
On Friday afternoon, The Missouri Valley Conference followed suit with the rest of the Division I conferences. The MVC Presidents Council cancelled all intercollegiate competitions through the end of the 2019-20 academic year. Athletic Director Mark LaBarbera released a statement shortly after.
“The events of the last 48 hours have been nothing short of heartbreaking as we’ve entered previously unprecedented territory with the cancellation of numerous winter and spring contests over this and the coming weeks,” LaBarbera said. “It has been difficult to see our student-athletes lose meaningful games and practices through no fault of their own.”
Regardless of the bleakness of this situation, LaBarbara has been proud of how his athletes have handled the sudden conclusions of their seasons.
“I would like to thank and commend our student-athletes for the maturity with which they’ve handled this unprecedented and difficult time. I have been impressed by the understanding they have displayed and the high character that this challenging time has showcased,” LaBarbara said.
LaBarbara also commemorated the work that his collegiate athletes have put in supporting one another in the abruptness of these unprecedented times.
“The support they’ve shown for one another through this process has reinforced what we already knew: We have a special community on this campus and a caring group of student-athletes who embody our University’s values,” LaBarbara said.
Although all Valpo Athletic teams are restricted from competing, LaBarbera sees this challenge as an opportunity to become stronger for the next season and unite as a stronger competitive school in the Valley.
“This is a fluid situation and we will continue to communicate updates to our student-athletes, coaches and members of the broader campus community,” LaBarbara said. “Once again, I would like to thank our student-athletes and coaches for all they have done and will continue to do to meet this challenge and help us emerge as a stronger community because of it.”
The story of Valpo Athletics and the MVC cancelling collegiate sports will be updated as more news on COVID-19 will be released.