For the first time in a long time, there will be no selection shows and no bracket reveals.
Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball, announced Sunday official brackets will not be released for the canceled Division I NCAA Tournaments.
“There is not an authentic way to produce tournament fields and brackets at this point without speculating and that isn’t fair to the teams that would be positively or negatively impacted by manufacturing March Madness,” Gavitt said in a statement.
“To be clear, this is my decision. The basketball committees support and concur.”
The NCAA canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments on Thursday due to the coronavirus outbreak. The move came hours after conference tournaments across the country came to a sudden halt and canceled their remaining games, including the Big Ten.
According to Gavitt, 19 men’s and 18 women’s conference tournaments had yet to be completed. In total, 132 men's game and 81 women's games were never played and numerous automatic qualifiers were undetermined.
That means building a bracket would've required too many assumptions and would've been based on too many incomplete results. In short, it wouldn't have been a legitimate process.
Gavitt said by the time the NCAA championships were canceled, the men’s basketball committee had just started their deliberations while the women’s basketball committee had yet to gather for their selection process.
“The important work of the basketball committees is to set up competitively balanced brackets to determine national champions” Gavitt said. “I don’t believe it’s responsible or fair to do that with incomplete seasons — especially for tournaments that unfortunately won’t be played.”
Some coaches clamored for a bracket to be announced so teams could at least be recognized and see their school name in the field. Additionally, it would give fans a chance to dissect matchups and make predictions.
Ultimately, the NCAA decided it was best to not release a faux bracket for a canceled event during a global pandemic.
“All of us want something to fill the void we’re feeling,” Gavitt said. “However, anything less than a credible process is inconsistent with the tradition of the NCAA basketball championships. Brackets based on hypotheticals can’t substitute for a complete selection, seeding and bracketing process.
“There will always be an asterisk next to the 2020 NCAA men’s and women’s basketball championships regardless if brackets are released.”