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Florida Senate officially declares Florida State national champions amid coronavirus pandemic

The NCAA tournament may have been canceled amid the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get a national champion.

Well, at least according to the Florida Senate.

The Florida Senate officially declared Florida State the 2020 NCAA champions in a 37-2 vote on Friday.

[ Coronavirus: How the sports world is responding to the pandemic ]

The resolution was introduced by Joe Gruters, a Republican out of Sarasota.

“The Seminoles, ranked No. 4 in the national college basketball standings, ended the regular season with a 26-5 record and were favored to challenge the top seeds in the national tournament and take home the national title,” the resolution read, in part. 

“The Florida State University Seminoles basketball team, by virtue of tremendous skill on the court and the heart and spirit shown by the players and coaches this basketball season, is declared the 2020 National College Athletic Association basketball champions by default upon cancellation of the NCAA tournament due to concerns raised by the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.”

Now Florida State did have a tremendous season, finishing with a 26-5 overall record and 16-4 in ACC play while winning the regular-season conference title. They had earned the top seed in the ACC tournament, too, though didn’t get to play before the tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

While they certainly stood a good chance at making a run in the NCAA tournament, so did at least a dozen other teams, including Kansas, Duke, Gonzaga, Baylor, Dayton and more. 

Why the Florida Senate decided to use its time to declare the Seminoles national champions — especially in the middle of a global pandemic where there are more than 2,400 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States and more than 150,000 worldwide — instead of using its time more productively isn’t quite clear, especially since this resolution doesn’t actually mean anything in the long run. There are at least 71 confirmed cases as of Saturday in Florida alone, too, and three people there have died due to the virus. In theory, the state government would be much more focused on the growing health crisis than a college basketball team.

Since the NCAA tournament wasn’t played, there isn’t a national champion this season. No piece of legislation by a state government — be that from Florida or elsewhere — will change that.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Florida Senate decided to officially declare the Seminoles national champions. (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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