Fans not allowed at March Madness as coronavirus spreads, NCAA says

The NCAA announced Wednesday that March Madness will go on as planned, but fans won't be allowed to attend because of concerns over the coronavirus outbreak....

Posted: Mar 12, 2020 9:05 AM
Updated: Mar 12, 2020 11:34 AM

The NCAA announced Wednesday that March Madness will go on as planned, but fans won't be allowed to attend because of concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

Only essential staff members and family members can attend, the NCAA said in its statement, which came just hours after the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, known as Covid-19, a pandemic.

"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 said in a statement. "We recognize the opportunity to compete in an NCAA national championship is an experience of a lifetime for the students and their families."

With the tournament less than a week away, the NCAA had been looking into alternative plans to keep the disease from spreading at its games. The tournament is scheduled to begin March 17 in Dayton, Ohio.

Emmert said the NCAA made its choice after consulting with public health officials and a NCAA-appointed coronavirus advisory panel. There are now more than 1,100 cases of the novel coronavirus reported in the United States.

The NCAA Covid-19 advisory panel recommended that all upcoming sporting events also be held without spectators.

Some teams had already canceled their plans to travel for games as a precautionary measure.

Last week, Chicago State University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City's Division I basketball programs canceled their road trips to Seattle University.

The National College Players Association (NCPA) had asked the NCAA in February to discuss potentially having its tournament without spectators due to coronavirus fears.

"Precautions should include canceling all auxiliary events that put players in contact with crowds such as meet and greets and press events," the NCPA said in a statement last month. "Athletic programs should also take every possible measure to sanitize buses and airplanes used to transport players."

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms was among those to express her disappointment at the NCAA's decision. The 2020 NCAA Final Four, which comprises of the final two rounds of the Division I men's basketball tournament, was scheduled to take place in Atlanta the first weekend of April.

"While we are disappointed, we respect the decision of the NCAA and agree that public health and safety are our priority," Lance Bottoms said in a statement.

The mayor encouraged Atlantans and visitors to continue to frequent local businesses and "tip a little extra to ease any burdens" on people in the service and hospitality industries who may be affected by the decision.

Huntsville/Redstone
Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 63°
Muscle Shoals
Cloudy
69° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 69°
Huntsville/Madison
Mostly Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 65°
Decatur
Cloudy
67° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 67°
Fort Payne
Mostly Cloudy
62° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 62°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 525049

Reported Deaths: 10824
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson757291498
Mobile40509800
Madison34201497
Tuscaloosa25469445
Montgomery24106574
Shelby23257245
Baldwin20815303
Lee15694167
Calhoun14391313
Morgan14183276
Etowah13728350
Marshall12043221
Houston10442280
Elmore10001202
Limestone9872149
Cullman9524191
St. Clair9519236
Lauderdale9301235
DeKalb8780184
Talladega8124174
Walker7160277
Autauga6819107
Jackson6770110
Blount6563133
Colbert6244133
Coffee5438113
Dale4780111
Russell432639
Franklin422081
Chilton4161111
Covington4090116
Tallapoosa3948149
Escambia390475
Dallas3530150
Chambers3527121
Clarke347760
Marion3083100
Pike306776
Lawrence297796
Winston273272
Bibb257362
Marengo248261
Geneva246375
Pickens233459
Barbour228956
Hale219575
Butler214368
Fayette210761
Henry188244
Cherokee183245
Randolph178841
Monroe174440
Washington166238
Macon156849
Clay150956
Crenshaw149857
Cleburne147341
Lamar139834
Lowndes138053
Wilcox125627
Bullock122340
Conecuh109828
Perry107726
Sumter103632
Coosa103128
Greene91534
Choctaw58924
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 839841

Reported Deaths: 12130
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby935471600
Davidson88371927
Knox49996626
Hamilton43575488
Rutherford42477424
Williamson27637215
Sumner23591345
Montgomery19799224
Wilson18569230
Out of TN1804895
Unassigned16945133
Sullivan16318287
Blount15240194
Bradley14701148
Washington14291244
Maury13286170
Sevier13222175
Putnam11227173
Madison10913241
Robertson9645130
Anderson8657172
Hamblen8528171
Greene7777152
Tipton7257101
Coffee6845121
Dickson6765109
Cumberland6624128
Carter6502156
Bedford6458129
Gibson6430145
McMinn640097
Roane6216103
Jefferson6098124
Loudon603869
Hawkins5841106
Lawrence583786
Monroe574995
Warren552681
Dyer5380104
Franklin510588
Fayette495576
Obion450696
Cheatham448555
Cocke445198
Lincoln432563
Rhea431875
Marshall413958
Campbell411262
Weakley404464
Giles396499
Henderson374976
Macon359077
Carroll358682
White356468
Hardin352866
Hardeman347264
Lauderdale315144
Henry313175
Marion311047
Claiborne309373
Scott306145
Overton299061
Wayne294534
Hickman281146
McNairy278554
DeKalb276553
Smith275339
Haywood268661
Grainger260049
Trousdale249322
Morgan246739
Fentress238747
Johnson234538
Chester210751
Bledsoe210311
Crockett202048
Polk200924
Unicoi196849
Cannon189731
Union187234
Grundy178434
Humphreys175722
Lake169526
Sequatchie167228
Benton163440
Decatur157739
Lewis156826
Meigs136124
Stewart131328
Jackson130935
Clay109931
Houston108833
Perry105728
Moore100317
Van Buren83823
Pickett75724
Hancock56112

Community Events