The fourth annual staging of Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic Men’s NCAA basketball tournament that was originally set to tip off tomorrow at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, has been cancelled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to a notice posted on the event’s website “the decision follows the National Collegiate Athletic Association, with its D1 Council approval, moving the first contest date in men’s and women’s basketball to November 25 for the 2020-21 season, due to developing and ongoing concerns associated with COVID-19 along with its approach that focuses on the health and safety of student-athletes.”
It added that “more information regarding the 2021 Jersey Mike’s Classic will be released soon”.
The popular event that started in 2017, and managed to attract a number of elite NCAA Men’s Division 1 basketball teams, became a part of the local sports landscape with all games being broadcast live on the CBS Sports Network to over 60 million homes in the USA.
At last year’s event, Jacob Ridenhour, the chief organiser of the event, indicated that Wake Forest of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) had confirmed their participation for this year, and were expected to be joined by other big named teams.
Last year, then 15th-ranked Utah State and Louisiana State University (LSU) headlined the eight teams that took part in the event held from November 22-24, and which attracted standing room crowds on both nights they had games.
Utah State University “Aggies” won the Montego Bay Division, while Eastern Michigan “Eagles” were declared the champions of the Rose Hall Division.
Nicholls State, North Carolina A&T, University of Maryland-Baltimore County, North Texas and Rhode Island also participated last year.
In the first staging in 2017, the 12th-ranked Florida State University won the Montego Bay Division and the University of Hartford won the Rose Hall Division, and in 2018, former NCAA champions Loyola Marymount University won the Montego Bay Division, including a win over the Patrick Ewing- coached Georgetown University, while Campbell University won the Rose Hall Division.