NCAA to limit attendance at basketball tournaments due to coronavirus

Coronavirus

FILE – In this Wednesday, March 18, 2015 file photo, The NCAA logo is on the court as work continues at The Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Imagine an NCAA Tournament with no fans in the arenas. What normally would be thought an impossibility isn’t so far-fetched as the United States and the rest of the world attempt to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

(WCMH) — The NCAA announced Wednesday afternoon it would limit attendance at championship events, including the upcoming men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

NCAA President Mark Emmert issued the following statement:

The NCAA continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 in consultation with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel. 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.

The announcement came after the NCAA’s COVID-19 Advisory Panel on NCAA Events recommended against sporting events being open to the public.

The NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel recognizes the fluidity of COVID-19 and its impact on hosting events in a public space.  COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in the United States, and behavioral risk mitigation strategies are the best option for slowing the spread of this disease.  This is especially important because mildly symptomatic individuals can transmit COVID-19.  Given these considerations, coupled with a more unfavorable outcome of COVID-19 in older adults – especially those with underlying chronic medical conditions – we recommend against sporting events open to the public.  We do believe sport events can take place with only essential personnel and limited family attendance, and this protects our players, employees, and fans.

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