The NCAA has taken the most drastic measure they possibly can. They have banned fans from attending all March Madness games.
The NCAA has made the announcement that all college basketball fans were hoping they wouldn’t hear. Fans will not be allowed to attend any of the men’s or women’s March Madness games.
NCAA President Mark Emmert statement on limiting attendance at NCAA events: https://t.co/GrPbmZx5N6 pic.twitter.com/PFFh9htixR
— Inside the NCAA (@InsidetheNCAA) March 11, 2020
This is a strict answer coming only hours after the World Health Organization officially declared the coronavirus a pandemic. The only people allowed to attend games will be essential personnel and a limited number of family members.
The NCAA is the first American sports league to ban fans from stadiums, but they likely won’t be the last. The NBA, NHL, and MLB have already taken measures against the media at games.
It only seems a matter of time before they ban fans as well. Even if the league’s themselves don’t ban fans, the individual cities might. Many city governments and state governments are taking things into their own hands.
The Governor of Ohio told the media on Wednesday that he’s planning on banning mass gatherings in the state. That’ll mean no fans allowed at Cavaliers or Indians games.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has told reporters that there will soon be an order for no mass gatherings in Ohio, which includes the First Four in Dayton and the NCAA Tournament in Cleveland.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 11, 2020
It’s going to be incredibly difficult for these leagues to operate if governments are shutting down mass gatherings. Expect NBA and NHL playoff games to be played with empty stands. MLB’s opening weekend may also lack fans.
It’ll be weird watching sports without the roar of the crowd, but this is life with a worldwide pandemic, and we must err on the side of caution.