The NCAA announced late Wednesday afternoon that it will play its winter tournament championships without spectators, except for family members of the players.
In a statement, NCAA president Mark Emmert said: “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.”
The Times Union Center will be hosting back-to-back NCAA tournaments. The first and second rounds of the men's basketball tournament takes place next Thursday and Saturday. The hockey East Regional takes place March 28-29.
The NCAA tournament 68-team field will be announced Sunday. The tournament starts Tuesday with two First Four games in Dayton, Ohio.