Charles Barkley calls on NCAA to cancel the tournament: "I think we're gonna have to shut down March Madness until we know more."
NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley thinks the NCAA needs to cancel the annual March Madness basketball tournaments altogether as a result of the COVID-19 (aka coronavirus) outbreak. The NCAA announced on Wednesday night that both the men's and women's tournaments will be played without fans in attendance, but Barkley thinks they need to take things a step further.
During a call to ESPN's "Get Up" on Thursday morning, Chuck explained, "I'm gonna say this and I'm probably gonna get in trouble because I work for Turner and March Madness and CBS... Turner Sports and CBS need to close down March Madness, man."
"Even if there's no fans in the stadium, you can't have these players breathing on each other for 2 weeks, even if they stay at a hotel, they're going to be at different cities around the country."
"I hate to say it and I probably shouldn't say it because I work for CBS, but I think we're gonna have to shut down March Madness until we know more."
"I know these kids want to play. Think about it, these kids are sweating, breathing, leaning on each other ... that's crazy! Even if you lose, you go back home, you don't know if you've got the virus for a week or two."
The NCAA has not yet announced a definitive plan for the tournament, and as of now the conference tournaments are still scheduled to take place as planned. However, with the NBA suspending their season, it's tough to envision a scenario where the NCAA allows college players, coaches and staff to continue playing, and travelling, throughout the country.
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