NCAA Tournament limited to essential staff and family after COVID-19 recommendation

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The upcoming NCAA basketball tournaments will be limited to only essential staff and family members.

NCAA President Mark Emmert made the unprecedented decision off recommendations from an NCAA advisory panel that evaluated the current public health risks of COVID-19 in the United States.

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“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,” Emmert said in his statement.

The NCAA’s advisory panel on COVID-19 recommended sporting events still take place, but with only essential personnel and limited family in attendance “to protect the players, employees and fans.”

The NIT will still be played, but in a similar format without fans and only essential personnel in attendance.

The Ivy League canceled its conference tournaments — several other conferences, including the MAC and Big West, are opting to play games without fans across the country.

The SEC announced it will continue its tournament with fans as of Wednesday afternoon. The league added it is “evaluating plans for the remainder of the tournament.”

The Big 12 changed its media policy for their men’s and women’s conference tournaments on Tuesday. As of Wednesday afternoon, the league will play games with fans in attendance, but these are fluid situations across the country.

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