The NCAA’s coronavirus advisory panel is recommending “against sporting events open to the public,” according to a statement posted Wednesday afternoon to the NCAA’s website.
“We do believe sport events can take place with only essential personnel and limited family attendance, and this protects our players, employees, and fans,” the statement reads.
Moments later, NCAA president Mark Emmert announced that attendance for games will be limited to essential personnel and some family members.
The statement comes six days before the NCAA men’s basketball tournament begins in Dayton, Ohio, and eight days before first-round games tip off at multiple sites, including Tampa’s Amalie Arena.
Here’s the full statement: The NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel recognizes the fluidity of COVID-19 and its impact on hosting events in a public space. COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in the United States, and behavioral risk mitigation strategies are the best option for slowing the spread of this disease. This is especially important because mildly symptomatic individuals can transmit COVID-19. Given these considerations, coupled with a more unfavorable outcome of COVID-19 in older adults – especially those with underlying chronic medical conditions – we recommend against sporting events open to the public. We do believe sport events can take place with only essential personnel and limited family attendance, and this protects our players, employees, and fans.
No official changes to March Madness have been announced. This story will be updated if more information becomes available.
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