Major conference tournaments continuing as scheduled amid coronavirus concern, NCAA hasn’t made final decision

The NCAA will continue to monitor the situation with the spreading coronavirus as it evaluates the status of next week’s NCAA Tournament, but individual conferences are deciding what to do with their conference tournaments. On Tuesday, the Ivy League announced the cancellation of its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments amid the growing coronavirus outbreak concerns, and the Big West and MAC said the general public will not be allowed to attendance when their tournaments are played. The ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC released statements confirming their tournaments will continue as scheduled, with changes to media policies

The NCAA announced it is planning to hold the NCAA Tournament as planned, but left the door open for changes.

The college basketball postseason for the ACC features two games on Tuesday, four on Wednesday and four on Thursday before the semifinals and finals on Friday and Saturday at Greensboro Coliseum. The Big 12 tips on Wednesday along with the Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC.

“After consultation with local and state health authorities, including the Governor and his medical staff, the Atlantic Coast Conference will hold its men’s basketball tournament as scheduled this week at the Greensboro Coliseum,” the ACC said in a statement. “As was outlined by the Governor during his press conference, high-risk individuals are discouraged from attending mass gatherings. 

“We will continue to take precautionary measures and follow the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, the league and the Greensboro Coliseum are taking additional proactive measures to provide a safe and clean environment for its institutions and fans.”

The Big 12 and SEC perhaps have the most substantial changes to its plans, with locker rooms closing to the media. Due to coronavirus concerns, the media will also be restricted from the court at the Big 12 Tournament as opposed to year’s past.

The ACC announced the following “proactive and response measures” that will be taken as the Tournament is set to commence on Tuesday. 

  • Frequent cleaning and sanitizing of common areas, restrooms, concessions stands, media areas, team areas;
  • Increasing the number of hand-sanitizer stations throughout FanFest and the concourse
  • Posting and distributing the CDC “Stop the Spread of Germs” information to ensure all fans are aware as they enter and move about the building;
  • Emergency Medical Services will be on scene for any medical concerns that arise.

Across the country, sanitary measures are being put in place that also includes moving media interviews to larger, less-intiminate venues. The NCAA earlier this week says it is “definitively” planning on moving forward with games, but Tuesday changed its tune a bit by offering up the following statement:

“The NCAA continues to assess how COVID-19 impacts the conduct of our tournaments and events,” it said. “We are consulting with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel, who are leading experts in epidemiology and public health, and will make decisions in the coming days.”

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