Big Ten announces all sports for remainder of academic year are canceled

The moves by the Big Ten and NCAA follow the professional trends of the last 24 hours.

The Gophers' helmet against Middle Tennessee State on Sept. 16, 2017 was in celebration of Goldy Gopher's birthday.

Jack Rodgers

The Gophers’ helmet against Middle Tennessee State on Sept. 16, 2017 was in celebration of Goldy Gopher’s birthday.

Paul Hodowanic

In the most drastic step yet to keep student-athletes and the surrounding community safe, the Big Ten Conference announced that all non-conference and conference competitions through the academic year will also be canceled, which puts an end to every winter sport still playing and every spring sport at the University of Minnesota. It also put a ban on on- and off-campus campus recruiting activities for the considerable future. 

“The main priority of the Big Ten Conference continues to be the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all developing and relevant information on the COVID-19 virus,” the Big Ten said in a statement. 

University of Minnesota Athletic Director Mark Coyle issued a statement shortly after the announcement, agreeing with the Big Ten’s decision. 

“We agree with the Big Ten’s decision to cancel all athletic competitions through the end of the school year. We also support the conference’s decision to suspend all on-campus and off-campus recruiting efforts for the foreseeable future. At this time, we are working on arranging transportation for our teams who are competing out of state to return to Minneapolis. We will provide all necessary resources for our student-athletes, coaches and staff during this difficult time,” Coyle said. 

Just moments before the Big Ten’s statement, the NCAA announced that all Division I winter and spring championships are canceled due to public health concerns caused by COVID-19. 

This includes the wrestling championships which were scheduled to begin March 19-21 at U.S. Bank Stadium. 

This appears to be the final step in a process that has evolved quickly over the past several days and mirrors trends that have been seen across professional sports. The NBA, NHL and MLB have all announced suspensions for their leagues within the last 24 hours. 

This is a breaking news story and more information will be added as it becomes available.