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11 Mar, 2020 20:56

No fans at ‘March Madness’ basketball games, NCAA announces citing coronavirus fears

No fans at ‘March Madness’ basketball games, NCAA announces citing coronavirus fears

‘March Madness’ men’s and women’s college basketball tournaments will still be played, but will be closed to the public as a precaution against the spread of Covid-19, the college sports association has announced.

"We do believe sport events can take place with only essential personnel and limited family attendance, and this protects the players, employees, and fans,” the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) said on Wednesday.

“This decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of coaches, administrators, fans and, most importantly, our student athletes,” NCAA President Mark Emmert added, acknowledging that this may be “disappointing” for fans.

The NCAA reserves the right to “monitor and make adjustments as needed,” Emmert said, leaving open the possibility that the tournaments might be canceled entirely should circumstances so require.

Known as ‘March Madness,’ the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament is one of the most famous and popular annual sporting events in the US. Established in 1939, it attracts massive live audiences and generates millions in revenue for the association from TV licensing fees. 

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