Fans banned at B1G/NCAA tournaments, Brad Underwood on playing in empty arena: “Extremely disappointing for the fans”

Sports

WCIA — If you’ve got a ticket to this weekend’s Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis or the NCAA tournament, you’re out of the luck. NCAA President Mark Emmert announced Wednesday afternoon that no fans will be allowed at NCAA tournament games this year, as a coronavirus precaution.

“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,” Emmert said in a statement. “This decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of coaches, administrators, fans and, most importantly, our student-athletes. We recognize the opportunity to compete in an NCAA national championship is an experience of a lifetime for the students and their families.”

The Big Ten Conference followed suit shortly after 5:30, announcing that starting Thursday no fans will be allowed inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis for the Big Ten tournament.

“I’ve never played one so I don’t know,” Illinois head coach Brad Underwood said Wednesday morning about the possibility of not playing in front of fans. “I guess I have, a couple games in the Southland, opponents didn’t draw very well so I’ve been in empty buildings I guess. It would be extremely disappointing for the fans if that were the case and it’s beyond my level of understanding but it’s one of the greatest sporting events in the world, it’s March Madness, so it would be very disappointing for those who couldn’t attend and watch.”

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