Hoops In The Heartland has been canceled due to concerns associated with the coronavirus, just as the Missouri Valley Conference Women's Basketball Tournament was about to begin.

League officials announced Thursday the cancellation of the tournament, which was scheduled to get underway with an afternoon game at TaxSlayer Center in Moline, Ill. In addition, league officials also announced that all MVC spring sports contests have been suspended through March 30, effective immediately.

The announcement effects athletic teams at UNI.

In women's basketball, the Panthers were scheduled to play Illinois State Friday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the MVC Tournament. At 18-14 overall, UNI was in position to possibly secure an NCAA Tournament bid with a strong showing.

Coach Ryan Jacobs' softball team was supposed to open Missouri Valley Conference play on the road this weekend. The Panthers had a three-game series scheduled at Evansville on Sunday and Monday, which has now been called off.

League officials said the announcement does not apply to teams and individuals competing in NCAA competition. They anticipate providing additional details regarding the spring sports season and league championships at a later date.

All tickets for the MVC Women's Basketball Tournament will be refunded at the original point of purchase, league officials said.

Here is the Missouri Valley Conference's official announcement:

The Missouri Valley Conference announced today that it has canceled the MVC Women's Basketball Tournament scheduled to begin today at TaxSlayer Center in Moline, Ill. In addition, the MVC has announced that all Conference spring sports contests have been suspended through March 30, effective immediately.

This does not apply to teams and individuals in NCAA competition.

The main priority of the Conference continues to be the well-being and safety of its student-athletes, administrators, coaches, media and fans. The league and its institutions will continue to work closely with local governments and health departments in monitoring the COVID-19 situation internationally and domestically.

Additional details regarding the spring sports season and league championships will be provided at a later date.

All tickets for the MVC Women's Basketball Tournament will be refunded at the original point of purchase.