NCAA President Mark Emmert issued a statement on Wednesday about COVID-19 and the Coronavirus pandemic that will adversely affect this year’s NCAA Tournament and other Championships. The statement reads as follows:
“The NCAA continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 in consultation with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel. 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. 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. This 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.”
Division II Regionals
As worded it implies that this “limited attendance” would apply to all levels of championship play including the upcoming Division II basketball regionals. A total of seven HBCUs will be competing in this year’s tournament including men and women.
The statement was retweeted by several NCAA accounts, including the Division II account.
On Tuesday the State of Ohio ordered that sporting events be played in front of empty arenas. That would include the NCAA’s “First Four” where the champions from the MEAC and SWAC are often placed.
This is a developing story and we will provide updates as they continue to come available.