The remaining games of the 2020 NCCAA Division II Women's Basketball National Tournament, and the entirety of the Men's National Tournament, have both been canceled.
The announcement was made by Ozark Christian College Athletic Director Chris Lahm at the conclusion of the consolation bracket game between Bob Jones University and Champion Christian College. Bob Jones won the game 62-59, which would have led to a match up with Campbellsville University Harrodsburg's Lady Pioneers on Saturday.
In a statement from the NCCAA, the league said that despite there being no confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus in the Southwest Missouri region, the risk of exposure to participants, staff, volunteers and people to whom the NCCAA ministers was deemed too significant.
The decision came in concert with members of the Joplin Sports Authority, Ozark Christian College administration and administrators with the NCCAA on Thursday afternoon.
Also in the statement given by the NCCAA, league Executive Director Dan Wood said the following.
“The NCCAA is appreciative of the Ozark Christian College administration and Joplin Sports Authority leadership for their hosting of these events and for their role in coming to this very difficult and inconvenient decision."
He added, “we are less logistically and contractually constrained than our NCAA and NAIA peers but felt this was the best decision for our member schools, student-athletes, and the NCCAA, regardless of outside influences. We are certainly aware of the frustration and disappointment of participants and fans alike.”
While action earlier in the day had seen CU Harrodsburg's Lady Pioneers rally to upset Emmaus Bible College 79-75, the beginning of the Men's National Tournament was set to begin at 2 p.m. in a match up with fellow Mideast member Great Lakes Christian College and Faith Baptist Bible College.
Athletic Director for Campbellsville University Harrodsburg, Dalton Christopher, while disapointed for student athletes, supports the NCCAA's decision.
"What we are seeing across the board is something unprecedented, and leagues are having to make difficult decisions. While I certainly feel for student athletes, coaches and staff that have worked to arrive at this moment, including our own team, I am completely in support of the NCCAA's decision to invest in the safety and well-being of our member institutions as our country works to find solutions to this growing illness," Christopher said.
The Lady Pioneers will return to Harrodsburg on Friday.
For more information about the NCCAA's decision on the COVID-19 virus, and for updates regarding tournament information, go to https://thenccaa.org/index.aspx