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Ivy League Cancels Conference Tournament Amid Coronavirus Concerns, Costing Harvard Chance At Reaching NCAA Tournament

BOSTON (CBS) -- The cancellations of large gatherings for sporting events in the Boston area have begun.

Due to coronavirus concerns, the Ivy League has canceled its conference tournament, which had been schedule to take place at Harvard this weekend.

"The decision has been made in accordance with the guidance of public health and medical professionals to discourage and limit large gatherings on campuses in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation," the league announced in a statement. "Effective immediately, the League is also implementing highly-restrictive, in-venue spectator limitations for all other upcoming campus athletics events. The League is also canceling all out-of-season practices and competitions."

As a result of the cancellation of the tournament, the Harvard men's team loses out on its chance to punch its ticket to the NCAA tournament. With a 21-8 overall record, an 11-1 home record, and a 2-0 record against conference-leading Yale (including an 83-69 drubbing last weekend), the Crimson had a legitimate shot to emerge as Ivy League champs this weekend in the tournament that was set to be played on their home court. Alas, by virtue of being the regular-season champs, Yale will be dancing in March Madness.

On the women's side, Princeton (with a 26-1 overall record and perfect 14-0 conference record) will earn the bid to the national tournament. The Harvard women ranked fifth in the Ivy League, so they would not have been partaking in the conference tournament.

The decision is in line with Harvard University's decision to not have students return to campus following spring break. Classes will be moved online to help limit the potential spread of the virus.

"We understand and share the disappointment with student-athletes, coaches and fans who will not be able to participate in these tournaments," Ivy League executive director Robin Harris said in the official announcement. "Regrettably, the information and recommendations presented to us from public health authorities and medical professionals have convinced us that this is the most prudent decision."

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