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VCU Forced Out of NCAA Tournament By Coronavirus

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The coronavirus pandemic disrupted the N.C.A.A.’s Division I men’s basketball tournament for the first time on Saturday, when a planned game between seventh-seeded Oregon and Virginia Commonwealth, a No. 10 seed, was declared a no-contest because of virus-related issues.

V.C.U. said in a statement on Saturday night that it had received “multiple positive tests” over the last 48 hours.

“We are devastated for our players and coaches,” Mike Rhoades, V.C.U.’s coach, said in the statement, which noted that the team had been undergoing daily testing for the last three weeks.

In its own statement on Saturday, the N.C.A.A.’s men’s basketball committee said it regretted that the players and coaches of V.C.U. “will not be able to play in a tournament in which they earned the right to participate.”

Under the tournament’s rules, Oregon will automatically advance in the tournament and will play the winner of Saturday evening’s game between No. 2 Iowa and Grand Canyon, a No. 15 seed.

The virus has loomed over the tournament, which is being played entirely in Indiana because of the pandemic, as a threat to end championship quests before they even began in earnest. Last week, the Atlantic Coast and Big 12 conferences saw teams — Duke, Kansas and Virginia — withdraw from their tournaments because of the virus.

N.C.A.A. officials have imposed significant restrictions on players, coaches and officials in an effort to keep the virus from intruding on the men’s tournament, a juggernaut of college sports that accounts for most of the association’s annual revenues. Attendance has been restricted, teams have largely been confined to their hotels in Indianapolis and many people associated with the tournament have faced daily testing for the virus.

In addition, members of team travel parties were required to test negative for the virus for seven consecutive days before traveling to Indiana.

But in an interview on Monday, Mark Emmert, the N.C.A.A. president, acknowledged that cases could surface during the tournament, which is scheduled to conclude on April 5.

“The first goal is no serious medical issues,” Emmert said. “That doesn’t mean we won’t have teams have to pull out or somebody test positive — we’re not naïve about that — but no serious medical issues throughout.”

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