The home of the Stony Brook University basketball teams, the Island Federal Credit Union Arena. The America East Conference announced on Thursday, March 13, that the upcoming women’s basketball championship game being held there will be canceled. SARA RUBERG/THE STATESMAN

The America East Conference announced on Thursday, March 13, that the upcoming championship games being held in Stony Brook and Vermont will be canceled. The conference initially announced that they would be closed off to the public and only essential personnel, media and family members, will be allowed to attend.

In lieu of the championship match, the Seawolves were declared the conference champions after winning the regular season title and advancing to the title game.

The decision comes in light of a host of cancellations and attendance restrictions in the sports world over the past 24 hours. The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced on Wednesday, March 12, that their 2019-2020 season was suspended after a player tested positive for COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus. The National Hockey League (NHL) has also preemptively suspended their season, and Major League Baseball (MLB) is cancelling spring training games while delaying Opening Day.

Several athletic conferences across the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) have recently decided to take action regarding their championship tournaments. The Big East initially attempted to play a quarterfinal matchup between St. John’s and Creighton, but canceled the contest — as well as the rest of the tournament — after halftime. The Big Ten, Big 12, Southeastern Conference (SEC), Pac-12, Conference USA, Atlantic 10 and American Athletic Conference (AAC) — among others — have all outright canceled their tournaments.

Stony Brook Athletics had just recently instituted new policies for indoor sporting events that included the America East tournament games. The department had limited ticket sales after noon on gameday and cut off ticket sales at the door, but now fans will be unable to enter at all. Fans who had purchased tickets to the Women’s Basketball final will be refunded entirely. 

It is unclear at this time whether these cancellations will have a ripple effect on the rest of the spring sports programs. Some individual events have been canceled already, and the Ivy League became the first conference to cancel their entire spring sports season, but for now Stony Brook is continuing as is.

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