Big Ten, Big 12, ACC following NCAA Tournament’s lead in restricting fans over coronavirus concerns


The Big Ten, Big 12 and ACC are following the lead of the NCAA. Beginning with Thursday’s games, the general public will not be allowed to attend their men’s basketball tournaments in response to the coronavirus.

“The main priority of the Big Ten Conference is to ensure the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all relevant information on the COVID-19 virus on a daily basis,” the Big Ten said in an announcement.

The NCAA announced its decision to restrict NCAA Tournament access to “only essential staff and limited family attendance.” The tournament begins Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio. Conference tournaments around the country run through Sunday, when the NCAA Tournament bracket will be revealed.

The NCAA’s move left individual leagues to figure out if they should follow their lead and restrict attendance at conference tournaments that are scheduled to continue through Sunday. The ACC cited the “rapidly changing landscape regarding COVID-19” in its decision to restrict public access.

The SEC, which tips off its tournament on Wednesday evening in Nashville, planned to play its first-round games on Wednesday and it was unclear if the tournament would continue with fans.

“Tonight’s SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament games will continue as regularly scheduled,” SEC associate commissioner Herb Vincent wrote in a tweet. “We are evaluating plans for the remainder of the tournament. More to come.”

The Big East also released a statement suggesting its tournament would continue with fans allowed for the time being.

Other leagues, such as the MAC and Big West, restricted their conference tournaments to the public before the NCAA’s decision on Wednesday, while the Ivy League cancelled its league tournaments — and all spring sports — amid concern over the coronavirus.





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