Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is asking for indoor sporting events in the state to have no spectators in the stands due to the Coronavirus, and that the only people allowed should be players, coaches, parents, and other people essential to the game taking place.
ATHLETICS: For indoor events, we are asking for no events with spectators other than the athletes, parents, and others essential to the game.— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) March 10, 2020
Right now, outdoor events can continue. #COVID19
So far, there have been three reported Coronavirus cases in Ohio.
Of course, this is huge in the state of Ohio, because the First Four takes place in the city of Dayton every year has since its inception in 2011. The First Four are some of the most-watched NCAA Tournament games because they are, obviously, the first games played, so having little to no fans would be a major hit to the NCAA’s pockets, as well as the viewership of the games.
The bigger issue could be fans not attending the first-weekend games in Cleveland, which is scheduled to host First and Second Round games Friday, March 20th, and Sunday, March 22nd. It just so happens that USA Today’s latest Bracketology has the Kentucky Wildcats playing in Cleveland as a 3 seed.
For now, the NCAA Tournament is still slated to take place with fans, but a lot can change over the next week, and how the conference tournaments go could play a part in how attendance at the Big Dance is handled.