The NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) announced on Wednesday that it will play its upcoming championship events and tournaments without fans due to the coronavirus outbreak.
NCAA president Mark Emmert revealed in a statement that based on his discussions with the NCAA Board of Governors, public health officials and the COVID-19 advisory panel he has made the decision to conduct 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,” read Emmert’s statement. “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’s statement follows after news that Ohio governor Mike DeWine announced mass gatherings will be prohibited in the state. The first four NCAA tournament games are set in Dayton and the first and second round tournament games are scheduled for Cleveland.
Several sporting events have been following the no-fan-attendance approach due to the COVID-19 crisis. The Warriors will also play home games without fan attendance, following San Francisco’s health offices order prohibiting groups of 1,000 people at events.