The 2020 NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournament will played in front of a limited attendance.
The NCAA President Mark Emmert released a statement on Wednesday the decision is due to the growing effort to limit the spread of the COVID-19, aka the coronavirus.
“I have made the decision to conduct our upcoming championship events, including the Division 1 men’s and women’s basketball tournament, with only essential staff and limited family attendance,” Emmert wrote.
This comes shortly after the Governor of Ohio announced there will soon be an order prohibiting spectators for mass gatherings in the state including next Tuesday and Wednesday’s “First Four” NCAA Tournament games in Dayton, Ohio.
“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.”
Emmert said the NCAA has been consulting with public health officials and its own advisory panel.
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.
The Big Ten Conference also made an announcement Wednesday, saying starting Thursday, march 12, attendance at all Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament games will be limited.
Attendance will be limited to student-athletes, coaches, event staff, essential team and Conference staff, TV network partners, credentialed media, and immediate family members of the participating teams.
In addition, conference officials stated all upcoming Big Ten winter and spring sport competitions, which will include championship/tournament events, will also be limited to those same attendants.
Conference officials said they are prioritizing the safety of student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media.
Anyone who does attend a Big Ten sporting event should review guidelines from the CDC.