ST. LOUIS - The Road to the Final Four starts for 12 special teams next weekend at the Enterprise Center. Packed arenas are what make the experience so special for student-athletes, but unfortunately, fans won't be allowed in the games this year.
Teams won't be the only ones feeling the impact.
The NCAA released a statement earlier today saying "only essential staff and limited family attendance" will be permitted at the games based on their current understanding of the COVID-19 virus.
While the NCAA feels this is the best decision for the public, coaches, staff, and student-athletes, local fans and businesses are taking a big hit.
"I know a lot of the hotels have had cancellations already, so there going to be sitting empty for the whole weekend," said Joe Futrell, co-owner of The Post Sports Bar & Grill. "A lot of the bars and restaurants down there depended on that spill over for business down there."
Fans who have already bought tickets to the games are left wondering if and when they will get a refund. The NCAA has not announced any refund policies or procedures.
An Explore St. Louis spokesperson released a statement saying, in part, "While we respect the decision of the NCAA to restrict access to their upcoming tournaments, we are disappointed for the thousands of fans who were planning to attend the games in St. Louis and other sites across the country."
The NBA announced it would suspend the season until further notice now that one player has been confirmed to have the virus. It will be interesting to see how sports organizations across the country respond moving forward.