March Madness 2020: NCAA Tournament games to be held without fans amid coronavirus outbreak

first_imgNCAA President Mark Emmert statement on limiting attendance at NCAA events:— NCAA (@NCAA) March 11, 2020″The decision is in the best interest of public health,” Emmert said in the statement, “including that of coaches, administrators, fans and, most importantly, our student-athletes.”MORE: Every sporting event canceled so far as COVID-19 spreads in U.S.The NCAA on March 2 told Sporting News it was monitoring COVID-19 but intended to continue with the NCAA Tournament as planned. In the time since the the NCAA’s original statement, however, multiple states, cities and athletic governing bodies begin restricting or canceling gatherings of large crowds, including athletic events. NCAA president Mark Emmert on Wednesday announced that the entirety of the 2020 men’s and women’s college basketball tournaments will be played without spectators present. Only essential personnel and a limited number of family members will be allowed to attend.The decision comes as a result of the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout the United States. That included cancellations by the Ivy League Tournament and College Basketball Invitational, as well as restricted access to the MAC and Big West tournaments as well as the First Four and NCAA Tournament games held in the state of Ohio.Associated Press reporter Ralph Russo later reported that the NCAA is looking not only to move the Final Four to a smaller venue in Atlanta — it was originally tabbed for the Mercedes-Benz Stadium — but also is considering moving its regional sites to smaller venues.Per Russo, the NCAA will hold at least the first-round games in the same venues.Mark Emmert says the NCAA is looking to move the Final Four out of Mercedes-Benz Stadium into a smaller venue in Atlanta.Regional sites could also be moved from the currently scheduled arenas to smaller venues in same cities.The plan is to keep sites for the 1st round as is.— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) March 11, 2020last_img

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