NCAA decides to ban fans from March Madness over Coronavirus

By RALPH D. RUSSO
AP College Sports Writer

NCAA President Mark Emmert says NCAA Division I basketball tournament games will not be open to the general public because of concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

Emmert says he made the decision to conduct both the men’s and women’s tournaments with only essential staff and limited family in attendance.

The decision comes after the NCAA’s COVID-19 advisory panel recommended against playing sporting events open to the general public.

Emmert also says the NCAA is looking into moving the men’s Final Four from Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium to a smaller arena. The tournaments begin next week.

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

____

The SEC plans on playing tonight’s games as scheduled, and then will reconsider after that.

____

Here is the NCAA statement:

NCAA President Mark Emmert’s statement on limiting attendance at NCAA events

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

Categories: Sports, US & World News