NCAA President Mark Emmert issued a statement Wednesday on limiting attendance at NCAA events in the wake of the coronavirus, which the the World Health Organization declared as a Pandemic.
“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,” the statement read. “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. We recognize the opportunity to compete in an NCAA national championship is an experience of a lifetime for the students and their families. Today, we will move forward and conduct championships consistent with the current information and will continue to monitor and make adjustments as needed.”
Conference tournaments are being played this week across the country, including the SEC’s in Nashville, Tennessee. The league office says tonight’s games are still on.
The league issued a statement via Twitter.
“The @SEC is aware of the statement just released by the @NCAA. Tonight’s SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament games will continue as regularly scheduled. We are evaluating plans for the remainder of the tournament. More to come.“
Alabama is scheduled to play Tennessee at noon CT on Thursday.
“We haven’t even talked about it as a team,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said. ’We just control what we can control and we can’t control any of that. We’re going to let everyone that’s a lot smarter than us make those decisions. Wash your hands. Use hand sanitizer. Be smart. We are going to control those things and we can’t control any of that (attendance or cancellation) stuff.”