Story by Ed Beach
The NCAA announced on Thursday the cancellation of championship events for all winter and spring sports, including the NCAA-II Women’s Basketball Midwest Regional. The regional tournament was scheduled to begin on Friday and continue through Monday night at the O’Reilly Family Event Center.
Drury Athletics is currently working with the NCAA on how to address ticket refunds as the tournament is an NCAA event and not a Drury University event.
The NCAA-II swimming & diving championships terminated their competition prior to the start of the second night of finals in Geneva, Ohio. The event was scheduled to run through Saturday night. Bailee Nunn, a senior from Marshfield, won a national championship in the 50 Freestyle on Wednesday night, and the women’s team entered Thursday night’s competition in second place and only four points back of Queens (NC). The Drury men’s squad was in fifth after the first day of competition.
The Panthers also had two wrestlers set to compete at the NCAA-II national championships in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with the event set to start Friday morning and continue through Saturday.
The NCAA’s announcement also addressed spring sports and canceled each of those championships.
“This was devastating,” said Drury Vice President and Director of Athletics Corey Bray. “This was terrible news for Drury, our fans, and our student-athletes. I understand why the decisions were made, but it was a difficult day for our coaches, department, and everyone associated with Drury Athletics. I especially feel for our seniors and the impact this has on them in regards to lost opportunities, the uncertainty of their future as student-athletes, or the end of their athletic careers. I’m proud of what they achieved, appreciative of their hard work, and wish their experience could have had a better conclusion.”
Earlier Thursday, Drury University suspended travel of its sports teams to regular season competition for the next two weeks. However, the Great Lakes Valley Conference, through its Council of Presidents, will discuss a formal league policy to address the coronavirus pandemic and continuing their spring sports schedule.