ACC officially cancels all sports activities for 2019-20 academic year

Whatever hope there was that spring sports schedules might eventually be resumed ended Tuesday with the cancellation of all sports events and practices at least through June

Basketball games that can't be played because of COVID-19 will no longer be considered forfeits by the ACC (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)

It’s official.

There will be no more athletic events in the ACC for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year.

Whatever hope there was that spring sports schedules might eventually be resumed ended Tuesday when the conference issued a statement cancelling the remainder of its events and practices through at least June in response to the spreading coronavirus crisis.

“Our top priority remains the health and safety of our student-athletes as well as our fans, communities and the overall well-being of others during these uncharted times,” commissioner John Swofford said in the statement. “We are particularly disappointed for our student-athletes and will continue to work with our membership to assess what is appropriate in the future.”

The ACC, in conjunction with the NCAA and other major conferences around the country, had already cancelled all upcoming events, including its national championship basketball and wrestling tournaments, and had put other spring sports on hold indefinitely.

But Tuesday’s announcement officially also ends the season for those teams as well.

Unlike those athletes participating in winter sports, the NCAA has indicated that it will restore a year of eligibility for all those whose spring seasons have been cut short.

Wake Forest athletic director John Currie said in a statement that his school fully supports the decision conclude the 2019-20 athletic year and cancel all spring sports ACC championships but does so with mixed feelings.

“While this is the right decision, we are sad for our student-athletes and coaches who had invested so much to be in position for what was to be an incredible spring season,” he said. 

UNC’s Bubba Cunningham stressed the need for taking warnings about the world-wide health crisis seriously.

“We must continue to make the health and safety of our students, coaches, staff, fans and visitors our priority,” Cunningham said. “These are challenging times for all of us, and it is important to make smart, consistent decisions to do all we can to lessen the spread and impact of COVID-19. We want everyone to stay safe.”

East Carolina and the American Athletic Conference have also made similar decisions, effectively ending the seasons of its baseball, softball, lacrosse, tennis golf and track teams.

“I’m heartbroken for these student-athletes who have worked hard for the opportunity to compete this spring,” Pirates athletic director Jon Gilbert said. “We will continue to support them and provide the resources they need to be successful in the classroom as we finish out the spring semester. This is a fluid situation and we will make the necessary adjustments following today’s news.”