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NCAA closes attendance to all events, including basketball tournaments, due to coronavirus

COVID-19 concerns have officially closed down public admission to all NCAA events.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Baylor vs Gonzaga Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA released a statement on Wednesday, after hearing from an advisory panel about the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and it’s impact of highly-attended sporting events, stating it will close attendance to the upcoming 2020 NCAA Basketball Tournaments including the national championship games.

NCAA President Mark Emmert issued the following statement:

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

This decision came on the back of the aforementioned advisory panel’s statement on NCAA events. On Wednesday, the advisory panel issued the following statement:

The NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel recognizes the fluidity of COVID-19 and its impact on hosting events in a public space. COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in the United States, and behavioral risk mitigation strategies are the best option for slowing the spread of this disease. This is especially important because mildly symptomatic individuals can transmit COVID-19. Given these considerations, coupled with a more unfavorable outcome of COVID-19 in older adults – especially those with underlying chronic medical conditions – we recommend against sporting events open to the public. We do believe sport events can take place with only essential personnel and limited family attendance, and this protects our players, employees, and fans.

The Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament is scheduled to continue with action tonight and through the weekend until Selection Sunday when the 2020 NCAA Basketball Tournament field will be unveiled. The ‘big dance’ was likely to feature multiple Pac-12 teams, up to potentially seven different universities still having hopes of joining the field.

This is a developing story.