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NCAA To Hold Upcoming Championship Events, Including 2020 Men’s Basketball Tournament, Without Fans Due To Coronavirus

The NCAA announced that its upcoming championship events — including the 2020 men’s basketball tournament — will be played without fans amid the current coronavirus outbreak in a statement from NCAA President Mark Emmert.

This decision also includes the 2020 men’s ice hockey and wrestling tournaments, which are set to begin within the next month.

“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,” Emmert said in the statement. This decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of coaches, administrators, fans and, most importantly, our student-athletes.”

Penn State men’s basketball is poised to qualify for its first NCAA tournament since 2011 thanks to a 21-10 regular season record. The team will compete in the Big Ten tournament this week, which will go on as scheduled in front of fans. The tournament will take place at a number of different sites across the country, including the Final Four at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel reported that all of this year’s NCAA basketball tournament games will still be televised. The NCAA, however, is “still working through” a decision on allowing other media members to attend.

Additionally, Penn State hockey’s spot in the 2020 NCAA men’s ice hockey tournament is all but secure. The team can earn an automatic bid by winning the Big Ten tournament, but the Nittany Lions are all but assured of an at-large bid thanks to their No. 7 ranking in the PairWise. As the midwest region’s designated host, Penn State would play its regional tournament games at the PPL Center in Allentown beginning on March 28.

Penn State wrestling will have seven different wrestlers competing at this year’s NCAA tournament in Minneapolis, which will take place from March 19-21. This year’s seeding is currently being announced, and Nick Lee will be the No. 2 seed at 141 pounds this year.

You can read Emmert’s full statement on barring fans from the NCAA’s championship events below:

The NCAA continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 in consultation with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel. 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.

Mark Emmert, NCAA President

Penn State is also barring fans from its home sporting events from now until April 3, and the university’s classes will all be held remotely until at least that date.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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