Indiana [USA], Mar 12 (ANI): Amid coronavirus outbreak, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) on Thursday announced that they will conduct their upcoming championship events, including the Division I men's and women's basketball tournaments without fans and only 'essential staff and limited family' will be allowed.
"The NCAA continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 in consultation with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel. Based on their advice and my discussions with the NCAA Board of Governors, I have made the decision to conduct our upcoming championship events, including the Division I men's and women's basketball tournaments, with only essential staff and limited family attendance," NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement.
Coronavirus, which originated in the Wuhan city of China, has spread to more than 90 countries infecting over 1,10,000 people.
Meanwhile, in USA alone, 1272 coronavirus cases have emerged with 38 deaths so far, reported CNN.
World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic and expressed deep concern both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction.
Emmert further added that although he understands how disappointing it will be for the fans, the decision was taken solely based on the threat of the spread of coronavirus.
"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. This decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of coaches, administrators, fans and, most importantly, our student-athletes," the statement added.
Emmert concluded by saying that they will continue to monitor and make adjustments as needed.
"We recognize the opportunity to compete in an NCAA national championship is an experience of a lifetime for the students and their families. Today, we will move forward and conduct championships consistent with the current information and will continue to monitor and make adjustments as needed," the statement read. (ANI)