March Madness to be Held in Empty Arenas

March 11, 2020, 11:42 AM HST (Updated March 12, 2020, 6:50 PM)
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Photo by Josh Pacheco.

March Madness will be a little less crazy in 2020, namely because fans won’t be allowed inside any of the venues in which the games will be played.

The NCAA announced its decision Wednesday, citing caution around the spread of the coronavirus, which the World Health Organization just declared a global pandemic.

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“The NCAA continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 in consultation with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel,” NCAA president Mark Emmert 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.”

Large public events such as concerts and soccer matches have been postponed or canceled across the globe.

The Golden State Warriors, who play their games in San Francisco, announced Tuesday they would keep fans out of the arena for the foreseeable future. The first NBA game to be played without fans is scheduled for Thursday night.

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