Cancellation of March Madness disappointing for Quad Cities bars and restaurants

Published: Mar. 18, 2020 at 3:51 PM CDT
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The National Collegiate Athletic Association canceled both the men's and women's basketball tournaments on Thursday because of the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The decision from the NCAA came a day after the organization announced the games would be closed to fans.

For some bars and restaurants, who look forward to March Madness, the news is understandable, but disappointing.

"Everyone's had something to say about the not letting fans into the games, but never really thought they would pull the plug on the whole tournament," Morgan Alpen, General Manager at Jersey Grille and Rookies Sports Bar in Davenport, said.

In a statement, the NCAA said:

"NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors canceled the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships. This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities.”

March Madness is normally a busier month for Jersey Grille, as fans come out to cheer on their teams.

"It's one of our favorite months of the year to do so, we'll just see. Everybody keeps asking what we're going to do next. We'll just figure it out, but it's just devastating to hear," Alpen said, "You just got to be able to handle it and see where you can take this negative and turn it into a positive. So that's kind of what we're all about."

This is the first time the March Madness tournament will not be held since it began in 1939.