All NCAA men's conference tournaments are cancelled due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

  • 14 basketball conferences announced today that they would be canceling basketball championship tournaments, effective immediately.
  • These cancellations included all power conferences: the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC.
  • Some conferences, including the SEC and Pac-12, have announced additional restrictions on athletic events.
  • Basketball cancellations alone could cost national sportsbooks well over $1 billion in handle and over $100 million in revenue.

INDIANAPOLIS – Following in the footsteps of the NBA’s decision last night to suspend the regular season until further notice, major NCAA Division I conferences throughout the country have decided to cancel their conference basketball tournaments in 2020.

The following 14 conferences announced today that they will be canceling tournament play immediately:

  • ACC
  • American
  • Atlantic 10
  • Big East
  • Big 12
  • Big Sky
  • Big Ten
  • Big West
  • Conference-USA
  • MAC
  • Pac-12
  • SEC
  • SWAC
  • WAC

Two conferences, the MEAC and the MAAC still plan to continue playing conference tournament games as scheduled, although that is certainly subject to change in the coming hours.

In addition to the canceled conference tournaments, some conferences announced additional suspensions or cancellations. The Pac-12 will be canceled until further notice, and the SEC has announced that it will be suspending all events across all sporting events hosted on home campuses until March 30.

The situation has been extremely volatile over the past 24 hours, and the status of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, more popularly referred to as March Madness, is uncertain.

NCAA President Mark Emmert announced yesterday that March Madness would proceed as scheduled, but that fans would not be admitted into games. It is unclear whether or not a full cancellation is on the table now.

Impact On The Sports Betting Industry

The college basketball postseason is one of the most lucrative times of the year for sportsbooks, and these mass cancellations will likely have a massive impact on sports betting revenues.

In 2019, March was the second-highest month in terms of sports betting handle for Nevada sportsbooks, accounting for 11.21% of the state’s total 2019 handle.

Basketball accounted for a staggering 83.1% of those bets. With the NBA fully suspending its regular season and the NCAA looking increasingly likely to cancel its marquee tournament, the hit to nationwide sports betting caused by these cancellations could be massive.

Using a LegalSportsBetting projection model, nationwide sports betting was likely to exceed $2 billion in March handle if everything had proceeded as planned.

Even a conservative estimate would attribute around 70% of this handle to basketball, which would amount to nearly $1.5 billion. At a national average hold rate, that would decrease nationwide sports betting revenues by over $101 million.

Additionally, two states — Illinois and Michigan — have spent the past several months frantically preparing to launch sportsbooks prior to March Madness.

It is unclear whether or not these new sportsbooks will continue to operate during this hiatus.

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