NCAA Basketball
Photo: NCAA

March Madness will be played without fans due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

The popular college basketball tournament, which includes the women’s basketball tournament and all other winter events will be under the same restriction, the NCAA announced.

The near-last-minute disruption stands as the most significant in the 81-year history of March Madness. But along with the NBA gradually playing selected games behind closed doors as well as with various other sports across the globe due to this ongoing health crisis, the NCAA were left with little option.

“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 in attendance” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement. He continued:

“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. The 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.”