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INDIANAPOLIS – March Madness just became crazier.

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Virginia Commonwealth University’s men’s basketball team was removed from the NCAA Tournament on Saturday due to COVID-19 protocols within the university’s program, the NCAA announced Saturday. The Rams’ first-round West Regional game against Oregon, scheduled for late Saturday night, was declared a no-contest game, the NCAA said in a statement.

The Ducks automatically advanced to the second round of the tournament. It is the first NCAA Tournament game canceled or declared a no-contest due to COVID-19 issues, ESPN reported.

“The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee has declared the VCU-Oregon game scheduled for Saturday night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum a no-contest because of COVID-19 protocols,” the NCAA said in a statement. “This decision was made in consultation with the Marion County Public Health Department.

“As a result, Oregon will advance to the next round of the tournament. The NCAA and the committee regret that VCU’s student-athletes and coaching staff will not be able to play in a tournament in which they earned the right to participate. Because of privacy issues we cannot provide further details.”

Oregon will play Iowa, an 86-74 winner against Grand Canyon, in a second-round matchup.

“This is tremendously disappointing and heartbreaking for the student-athletes who’ve worked so hard for this opportunity,” Atlantic 10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade said in a statement. “During this pandemic, the medical advisory boards have the authority to make this decision for the safety and welfare (of) all of the student athletes staff and teams. VCU has had an outstanding year, and this setback does not diminish any of their accomplishments.”

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