University of Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long said in a statement Thursday that all athletic-related travel is canceled indefinitely, and home and away athletic events have been suspended in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
The statement came shortly after all NCAA conference basketball tournaments were canceled and the fate of the NCAA Tournament was in the balance. It's unclear how the decision could be impacted should the NCAA tournament ultimately end up being played. As of now, KU Athletics spokesman Dan Beckler said KU's decision does not mean that the university has withdrawn from the NCAA tournament.
"Our highest priority at Kansas Athletics is to ensure the safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff," Long said. "Based on the recommendation of our medical professionals, we have canceled all athletic travel indefinitely. In addition, all home and away athletics events have been suspended indefinitely. We will continue to monitor the situation and determine the next appropriate steps based on advice from our medical team."
KU clarified to the Journal-World that the suspension of "athletics events" will include practices. Kansas football's spring practice was scheduled to begin March 17 and run through April 18.
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self said in a statement that while he and the No. 1-ranked Jayhawks were disappointed over the decision to cancel the Big 12 Tournament, it was clearly the necessary thing to do.
"As I said yesterday, this is bigger than a sport or championship," Self said. I know our medical staff and the NCAA will research all avenues to determine the appropriate steps moving forward.”