NCAA tournament games to be played without fans

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Wednesday, March 11, 2020
NCAA tournaments will be played without fans
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NCAA tournaments will be played without fans.

The NCAA made the unprecedented decision Wednesday to hold the men's and women's basketball tournaments without fans due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

"The NCAA continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 in consultation with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel," NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement. "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 news came down shortly after North Carolina State beat Pittsburgh in the first round of the ACC Tournament. N.C. State coach Kevin Keatts was asked for his reaction to the announcement.

"It's a serious problem, and it's not an athletic problem. It's a problem all across the country," Keatts told ABC11. "And so I don't think anyone here or anybody in the sports world should obviously complain about what the people that know what's going on decide to do."

The NCAA announcement came after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he would issue an order that would ban fans from NCAA tournament games in Cleveland and Dayton.

The 2020 College Basketball Invitational was also canceled because of the uncertainty of the coronavirus, ESPN reported.

Sporting events around the world have been affected by the virus. States and cities have banned large gatherings, leading to teams like the Golden State Warriors to say that they would play in front of empty arenas.

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