NCAA decides to ban fans from March Madness over Coronavirus

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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.

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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.



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

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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.