The Coronavirus continues to throw the sports world into unprecedented scenarios.
On Tuesday, CBS and TNT suits were convinced that the NCAA would allow fans to attend NCAA Tournament games and said they wouldn’t alter their coverage either way.
On Wednesday, however, the NCAA made the decision to hold its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments without fans for the first time ever, because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
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.
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.
What a drag this will be for the fans and the optics and energy of the games. Terrible situation for arenas and arena workers in any capacity. It could be great for TV because with no fans attending the games the only way to see them will be on TV and devices.