Amid fears about the continuing spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) on Wednesday decided its annual men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be played without any fans in attendance, reported ESPN.
The NCAA’s decision came after the Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he would issue an order that would ban fans from tournament games in Cleveland and First Four play-in games in Dayton. The NCAA acknowledged that this will be a big disappointment for the fans but said the decision is made in the interest of their health and that of the student-athletes, coaches and administrators.
“The NCAA continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 in consultation with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel,” said Dr. Mark Emmert, the NCAA’s president, 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.”