NCAA Tournament to be played without fans in attendance

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FILE – In this Wednesday, March 18, 2015 file photo, The NCAA logo is on the court as work continues at The Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Imagine an NCAA Tournament with no fans in the arenas. What normally would be thought an impossibility isn’t so far-fetched as the United States and the rest of the world attempt to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The NCAA has announced all upcoming championship sporting events, including the Division 1 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, will be played without fans in attendance. due to the coronavirus.

A statement from NCAA President Mark Emmert said the decision was based off a recommendation from public health officials and the NCAA’s COVID-19 advisory panel.

Emmert said only essential staff and limited family will be allowed to attend games.

“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,” Emmert said in the statement. “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,” Emmert continued. “Today, we will move forward and conduct championships consistent with the current information and will continue to monitor and make adjustments as needed.”

The NCAA Tournament is scheduled to begin next week.

This story is developing and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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