Today, NCAA president Mark Emmert announced that the 2020 NCAA Tournament will be played without fans because of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
The NCAA had held out until Wednesday, repeatedly stating they were assessing the situation, and letting their individual conferences and schools decide for purposes of conference tournaments. However, on Wednesday, the NCAA’s COVID-19 advisory committee recommended against holding these events open to the public. They will still go on, but only essential personnel and limited family attendance will be allowed.
Leagues throughout the world have taken extra precautions, and it’s not a surprise that the NCAA decided to factor in these reasons. While originally planned to go forward as per usual, the change in circumstances has forced the games to be played in front of empty arenas.
The NCAA tournament is slated to start next week in Dayton, Ohio with the First Four, followed by the first rounds on Thursday and Friday. Ohio was set to order the First Four be played without fans, but the NCAA has now stepped up to do the right thing across the board.