The NCAA on Wednesday announced that it wouldn’t allow spectators to attend the upcoming tournament, it didn’t take long for the conference tournaments to follow suit.
The Big10, Big12, ACC and other conferences earlier this evening announced that they would not let fans attend games starting Thursday due to the coronavirus.
The SEC has now introduced the same procedure. The conference had started the tournament this evening, with Georgia and Ole Miss playing in the first game.
After Georgia wrapped up the win, Greg Sankey released a statement on the remainder of the tournament and upcoming games involving Spring sports
“In light of recent developments beyond our control related to the spread of the coronavirus, including a recommendation from the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel, and after consultation with our member universities, we have made the difficult decision to hold the 2020 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament in Nashville without spectators beginning with games of Thursday, March 12. Effective immediately, the policy will also apply to other SEC Championship events and on-campus regular season games scheduled through at least the end of March.
“After conferring with local and national health authorities, we remain confident in our ability to safeguard the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and other staff who will be participating as well as the limited number of family members and media who will be in attendance at the tournament.
“We regret the inconvenience and disappointment this decision has caused our fans, especially those who have already travelled to Nashville for the tournament.”
The SEC also announced that “For the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament, automatic refunds of ticket purchases will be made to fans who are the original purchaser of the tickets from SEC Office or an SEC university, or a verified purchaser on the SEC Ticket Exchange powered by Ticketmaster. For regular season events, each campus will determine refund policies and procedures”.
This is big news for the other sports as well, especially SEC baseball, which will not be allowed to host fans for their games until at least the end of March.
Tennessee AD Phillip Fulmer released a statement Wednesday night, concerning the decisions made by the SEC and also how they will approach the medical situation.
“These are difficult circumstances to navigate, and we understand and support the conference’s decisions related to upcoming athletic events. From an institutional standpoint, we’ll continue to rely on the advice and expertise of public health authorities and the university’s Office of Emergency Management as we approach the coming days and weeks with the health of our student-athletes, staff and campus community at the forefront of our decision making.”
This has been a wild day involving the sports and medical world. To be honest, I would imagine more drastic measures to come.