With COVID-19 becoming a worldwide health concern, Johns Hopkins University has announced it will ban fans from attending the first two rounds of the Division III basketball tournament.
JHU is hosting Yevisha vs. WPI and Penn State Harrisburg vs. JHU on Friday, as well as a Saturday game.
Johns Hopkins, located in Baltimore, said recent cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Maryland are the reason for this measure.
This could be the first of many decisions to ban fans from NCAA events in the near future. The NCAA has not ruled out banning fans from NCAA Division I Tournament games later this month.
The National College Players’ Association asked the NCAA to do just that in late February.
“In regard to the NCAA’s March Madness Tournament and other athletic events, there should be a serious discussion about holding competitions without an audience present,” the NCPA said in a statement.
The NCPA also recommended that auxiliary events be canceled, like meet and greets and press events.
The NCAA hasn’t yet decided to make any changes to March Madness plans.
COVID-19 cases have been reported in 18 states, including New York, Washington, Florida, North Carolina, Nebraska, California, Texas and Georgia, all of which are states hosting NCAA Tournament games (the Final Four is in Atlanta this year).
These precautions are being considered at sporting events worldwide. Italy has closed its doors for all Serie A matches and other sporting events for the next month.