March Sadness: NCAA tournaments to be held without fans due to coronavirus

There will be "only essential staff and limited family attendance"

2015 Men's Basketball Tournament game in Jacksonville, Florida
2015 Men's Basketball Tournament game in Jacksonville, Florida
(Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Last Updated:
March 11, 2020 - 8:05pm

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Both the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments will be held without the traditional crowds of raucous fans, as institutions and individuals around the country and the world continue to take measures to counter the spread of the coronavirus.

NCAA President Mark Emmert on Wednesday explained that only family members and essential personnel would be permitted to attend the games.

"The NCAA continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 in consultation with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel," he said 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.”

Coronavirus fears are also impacting events surrounding the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race.

Yesterday, both of the top Democratic presidential campaigns canceled Ohio rallies, and the DNC announced that the upcoming Arizona debate this weekend will be held without a live audience, all due to coronavirus concerns.

“At the request of both campaigns and out of an abundance of caution, there will be no live audience at the Arizona debate taking place on Sunday, March 15th,” the DNC’s statement said.

Former Vice President Joe Biden canceled plans to be in Tampa, Fla. on Thursday and will instead deliver remarks in Delaware about the coronavirus.

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