It’s official. The 2020 NCAA Tournament will not be played in front of fans. The NCAA announced on Wednesday, March 11, that March Madness will take place without fans in attendance due to ongoing concerns over novel coronavirus COVID-19.
NCAA president Mark Emmert confirmed the news with a statement.
“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 in attendance,” Emmert said.
“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. The 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. Today, we will move forward and conduct championships consistent with the current information and will continue to monitor and make adjustments as needed.”
The news comes as a massive disappointment to fans who attend one of the most popular sporting events of the year.
It’s now official:
No fans allowed at NCAA Tournament. https://t.co/bwqFI2aA8L
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) March 11, 2020
In the United States, coronavirus cases have topped 1,000 across 34 states with at least 32 deaths — most of the deaths in the state of Washington.
The coronavirus mainly comes from animals and a majority of those who were infected early either worked at or frequently visited the Huanan seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, according to The Guardian. The virus is similar to Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers).
The Wuhan coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through “droplet transmission.” That means an infected person can pass the virus by sneezing or coughing on another person as well as by direct contact.
While a majority of the cases have been detected in China, it has now reached many countries around the world including the United States. It has also been confirmed in Italy, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and many other eastern countries.