SEC joins rest of Power 5 in keeping fans away

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NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – MARCH 17: The Auburn Tigers hold the winner’s trophy after the 84-64 win against the Tennessee Volunteers during the final of the SEC Basketball Championships at Bridgestone Arena on March 17, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(AP) — The Southeastern Conference has joined the rest of the Power Five leagues in closing off its men’s basketball tournament to fans.

The SEC opened its tourney in Nashville on Wednesday night after the NCAA announced that only family and essential personnel would attend its men’s and women’s tournament games that begin around the country next week. The league said then it was evaluating plans for the remainder of its tournament.

About 15 minutes after Georgia beat Ole Miss to open the tournament, the SEC announced it was joining the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 in keeping the general public out of the final four days of its tournament.

“We regret the inconvenience and disappointment this decision has caused our fans, especially those who have already traveled to Nashville for the tournament,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement.

The SEC also says fans will be kept out of all regular-season sporting events on its campuses and other league championships through at least March 30.

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