March 10 (UPI) -- The Ivy League called off its men's and women's basketball conference tournaments because of concerns about the coronavirus outbreak, the league announced Tuesday.
The four-team tournaments were scheduled to take place Friday through Sunday at Lavietes Pavilion in Cambridge. Instead, the Ivy League will award its automatic NCAA tournament bids to the regular-season conference champions, the Yale men's team and the Princeton women's squad.
The conference tourneys were the first at the Division I level to be canceled because of the disease.
"We understand and share the disappointment with student-athletes, coaches and fans who will not be able to participate in these tournaments," Ivy League executive director Robin Harris said in a statement. "Regrettably, the information and recommendations presented to us from public health authorities and medical professionals have convinced us that this is the most prudent decision."
Conference tournaments have continued around the country since last week ahead of the NCAA men's and women's Division I tournaments, which begin next week. Most of the largest conferences, such as the Big Ten and SEC, start their men's tournaments this week in major cities.
In a statement released Tuesday, the NCAA said it plans to play its March Madness games at the planned sites as scheduled with no adjustments.
"NCAA member schools and conferences make their own decisions regarding regular-season and conference tournament play," the NCAA said. "As we have stated, we will make our decisions on our events based on the best, most current public health guidance available.
"Neither the NCAA COVID-19 advisory panel, made up of leading public health and infectious disease experts in America, nor the CDC or local health officials have advised against holding sporting events. In the event circumstances change, we will make decisions accordingly."
The Ivy League said all tickets for the conference tournaments will be refunded. It also announced that there will be a spectator limit at all other sporting events for the remainder of the spring season.