KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- It’s definitely one for the history books. The situation surrounding the corona virus crippling sports and that includes the 2020 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament:
Word broke just before Noon that the SEC would be following suit with the NBA and other leagues by cancelling their games. While not entirely similar, The SEC did see games at the Tourney in Atlanta back in 2008 postponed and moved because of a Tornado which came through. Commissioner Greg Sankey was there and got choked up today relating that situation to this week's event as it pertains to the student athletes saying, ”We had a tornado hit the Georgia Dome. Many of you were there and can probably recall where you were sitting. None of us slept the night. Mark Womack was leading. Mike Slive was on the basketball committee. So he was sequestered in Indianapolis at that time. I was doing what I did at that point. We moved to Georgia Tech. We had a doubleheader for one team. Georgia-Kentucky played. Georgia won. Georgia won again, and then Georgia won the Championship."
It was more of a subdued atmosphere outside the Arena after word filtered around that the Tournament would be postponed. Everyone having to readjust and really just try to wrap their minds around what's happened here this week and really across the world. Among those people is former Vol and current Vol Network analyst Bert Bertlekamp who conveyed his feelings to us just after the announcement had been made, It's very disappointing, but we understand the decision but you think about guys like Jordan Bowden, the senior who may have played his last game for the Vols, and disappointing for the fans," said Bert.
Jerry Townsend, a Tennessee fan from Abingdon, Virginia said, "It's very disappointing, but I do understand for all the people health wise it's probably for the best, so we can come next year."
The only chance the Vols got step on the court at Bridgestone Arena was during Wednesday's walk-through prior to the evening session and as it turns out, those were the only two games
played this year.
Upon learning this morning their game with Alabama was off, coach Barnes and the Vols immediately left the premises. The decision not to play was one coach Barnes was certainly on board with. Rob Lewis of Volquest.com spoke with the coach and said, "I had a chance to talk with Rick Barnes last night and he thought after the NBA made their decision that the SEC would follow suit."
Bob Kesling of the Vol Network also spoke with the head coach and added, "He didn't want to play he didn't want to put the players at risk and felt this was the best thing to do. two things , the players want to play for the seniors it's their last chance to play in the SEC tournament but on the flip side it's about the safety of these players and if one person gets sick just think of the criticism the sec is gonna take"
Also of not, the commissioner has suspended football recruiting by coaches both on and off Campus.