With March Madness around the corner, the NCAA’s COVID-19 advisory panel has recommended against opening up sporting events to the public, per a press release. As a result, the 2020 NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments will be held without fans in attendance, NCAA president Mark Emmert announced.
“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 NCAA said in its statement.
“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,” Emmert said. “This decision is in the best interest of public health.”
The changing circumstances surrounding the NCAA tournament may not have a major adverse impact on NBA teams, who have had all season to scout and form opinions on the players expected to be part of the 2020 draft class. However, it will make for an unusual and surreal event, with students and hardcore supporters no longer packing arenas to cheer for their schools.
The NCAA has yet to determine whether media will be allowed into arenas for the tournament, according to Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link).