ATLANTA — The madness will go on in March - but without college basketball fans in the stands.
The NCAA announced that games in the Division I men’s basketball tournament will not be played in front of fans. The decision comes in response to growing concerns about the coronavirus.
This includes the Men’s Final Four, which Atlanta is hosting April 4 through 6 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
“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,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in statement
The NCAA men's tournament starts Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio. Cities in California, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas and Washington were all selected to host the other rounds. All of those states have confirmed or presumed positive coronavirus cases.
The NCAA’s decision also applies to the Division I women’s tournament. The tournament selects individual schools to host the opening rounds on campus. The Women’s Final Four is set for New Orleans.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms released a statement, saying:
“While we are disappointed, we respect the decision of the NCAA and agree that public health and safety are our priority. I encourage Atlantans and visitors to keep in mind the hardships that our service and hospitality industries may face as a result of this decision, and to continue to patronize Atlanta businesses and tip a little extra to ease any burdens this may place on the families of those industries.”
College basketball isn’t the only sport that has made changes over the coronavirus. A few NBA, MLB and MLS teams are also making decisions to not play upcoming games in front of fans.
If you had a ticket to the event, here is the information on what will happen: