NCAA President Mark Emmert said the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, among other events, will be held without fans due to the coronavirus outbreak. Only essential staff and limited family will be in attendance.
“While I understand how disappointing this is for all fans of our sports, my decision is based on the current understanding of of how COVID-19 is progressing in the United States,” Emmert said in a statement.
The NCAA’s COVID-19 Advisory Panel recommended that sporting events not be open to the public, according to a statement issued Wednesday afternoon.
In the statement, the panel said it recognizes the fluidity of the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. It said, “behavioral risk mitigation strategies are the best option for slowing the spread of this disease.”
“We do believe sport events can take place with only essential personnel and limited family attendance, and this protects our players, employees, and fans,” it said.
“This decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of coaches, administrators, fans and, most importantly, our student-athletes,” Emmert said in the statement.
Further adjustments will be made as needed, Emmert said.