It was a move many saw coming, but still the debate had been going on hotly on social media: would the NCAA actually pull the trigger and limit attendance to both the men’s and women’s Division I tournaments starting this month?
The answer: yes.
The announcement was released by the NCAA Wednesday afternoon, just a week before the men’s play-in games were to commence. It also comes just hours after Ohio Governor Mike Dewine announced the state would bar people from attending large events, such as the NCAA tournament, of which the First Four games are slated to be played in Dayton, Ohio. Cleveland is to host the first and second rounds.
“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,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement.
“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,” he said.
Needless to say, reaction on social media has been measured and respectful.
You people are idiots
— Mac Gandy (@Theholy_MACeral) March 11, 2020
More people die from obesity….. Come on NCAA
— Tony Sipe (@sipe_tony) March 11, 2020
32 US deaths. 29 in state of Washington because it ran rampant thru some nursing homes.
I don't think anyone from a nursing home has plans to attend March Madness.
— Trisectional90 (@jdsprung44tx) March 11, 2020
These are the ones we can print. Others are…not safe for work. No word yet on if the NCAA will refund ticketholders for the games they are unable to attend due to this decision.