Both the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Tournaments will be Played without Fan Attendance
The NCAA came to a decision today in which they have decided to move forward with the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments without fan attendance.
The decision was made as several universities across the United States have chosen to shut down and move to online only classes for the rest of the semester.
BREAKING: The Men’s & Women’s NCAA Tournaments will be held without fans. Only essential personnel & family will be in attendance.
— The Liberty Line (@LibertyLinePHL) March 11, 2020
“The NCAA continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 in consultation with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement. “Based on their advice and my discussions with the NCAA Board of Governors, I have made the decision to conduct our upcoming championship events, including the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, with only essential staff and limited family attendance.
“While I understand how disappointing this is for all fans of our sports, my decision is based on the current understanding of how COVID-19 is progressing in the United States. This decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of coaches, administrators, fans and, most importantly, our student-athletes. We recognize the opportunity to compete in an NCAA national championship is an experience of a lifetime for the students and their families. Today, we will move forward and conduct championships consistent with the current information and will continue to monitor and make adjustments as needed.”
Emmert said the NCAA also was looking into moving the men’s Final Four from Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium to a smaller arena. The NCAA will consider using smaller venues for regional sites currently scheduled to be played at the Toyota Center in Houston; Madison Square Garden in New York; Staples Center in Los Angeles and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Several conference tournaments are currently underway and will be continued as planned. The Big East, SEC, ACC, and Big 10 have yet to announce changes to their tournaments while the Mid-American Conference and the Big West Conferences have followed suit with the NCAA not allowing fans to attend. The Ivy League has already cancelled their conference tournament.
This marks a historic day in sports history and will tragically change the March Madness Tournament. Given the fact that the NCAA has taken such a preemptive path to contain the spread of the coronavirus expect the professional leagues to soon follow suit. They have already begin to do so – starting tomorrow night with the Golden State Warriors at home against the Brooklyn Nets:
The Golden State Warriors will play tomorrow’s game against Brooklyn in front of an empty arena.
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) March 11, 2020
I understand the moves being made by league officials to ensure the safety of everyone involved and being proactive on stopping the spread of the virus. I agree it definitely can’t hurt to be overly cautious.
I do wonder if the panic is spreading faster than the virus itself. At this very moment the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. It has, however, been extremely dangerous for older adults and causing severe cases of pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.
More news to come. We’ll be back with more on the tournament, how empty stadiums will effect the games, any moves of venues, betting, and all that but for now this tweet says it all:
March Sadness. pic.twitter.com/oJsxpu3ABX
— Branded Sports (@branded_sports) March 11, 2020