Coronavirus concerns on mind of organizers for Arch Madness, NCAA tournaments

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SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – MARCH 21: Fans watch play as Tyus Battle #25 of the Syracuse Orange controls the ball against the Baylor Bears during the second half in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 21, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

ST. LOUIS, MO- With heightened concern around the country due to the coronavirus, could “March Madness” fans be restricted to watching college basketball crown a national championship on television only?

Over the weekend, the National College Players Association released a statement calling for the NCAA to take precautions with athletes around crowds at events in general but about the NCAA basketball tournament specifically said: “there should be a serious discussion about holding competitions without an audience.”

Enterprise Center in St. Louis will host the Missouri Valley Conference’s Men’s Basketball Tournament Thursday through Sunday, and the conference and the venue will be the host for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament starting March 19.

A spokesman for the Missouri Valley Conference said in an email Monday that “the NCAA Sport Science Institute sent two memos recently to NCAA members directing schools to CDC resources on the issue. Otherwise, NCAA and our MVC staff continues to prepare for Arch Madness and March Madness but we are keenly aware of coronavirus and will continue to monitor in coordination with state/local health authorities and the CDC.

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