SNIDER: Fans need NCAA Tournament to continue

Rick Snider
March 12, 2020 - 12:36 pm
Fans need NCAA Tournament to continue

Patrick Smith/Getty Images


The NCAA Tournament should go on. America needs the distraction as our lives are on lockdown.

The coronavirus pandemic is far more serious than first believed. China has been grappling with the virus for three months and is still not clear. There's no reason why the U.S. will do any better. If we're lucky, lockdown might ease come the Fourth of July.

We need sports as a distraction because I promise you, sitting at home for even 14 days is a real challenge. I've done so several times because of health crises and a week felt like a month, and a month felt like a year.

How will we get past this crisis? Sports helps immensely. For a few hours, you're transported elsewhere. March Madness will make the coming pain a little easier. After all, Netflix binging only goes so far.

Certainly, safety for teams is paramount. No crowds should greatly reduce the risk, but if health officials truly believe the games should be canceled, then fine.

But, we've seen world crises over the past centuries with wars and terrorism, and at some point, life goes on. The NCAA Tournament will help people through tough times.

These aren't meaningless regular-season games. The NBA and NHL were smart to suspend play. If conditions improve, they can return for the playoffs. Major League Baseball should probably consider a shortened season and start in May or June when the pandemic lessens.

But the NCAA is finishing its season now. And, after four days, teams are reduced from 64 to 16 teams, so we're talking small numbers playing in empty arenas.

U.S., and worldwide audiences, need some hope as times darken. Sports have always provided it. World War II was our gravest time and still sports continued to give people hope of a better tomorrow. Playing in empty arenas so millions can watch on television should be considered as a way to keep people sheltered in place. Otherwise, people will venture out even more so.

Life will go on with or without March Madness. It's just a little easier with the games.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks