March Madness 2020 games could be played without fans.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Tuesday he is asking indoor sporting events take place without spectators “other than the athletes, parents, and others essential to the game” over coronavirus fears/
Dayton hosts the First Four of the NCAA Tournament every year at UD Arena, with this year’s game scheduled for next Tuesday and Wednesday. Cleveland is also set to host first and second-round games in the tournament.
The NCAA has yet to make a decision on how it will conduct its upcoming slate.
“The NCAA continues to assess how COVID-19 impacts the conduct of our tournaments and events,” the collegiate governing body wrote in a statement. “We are consulting with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel, who are leading experts in epidemiology and public health, and will make decisions in the coming days.”
The Cleveland Cavaliers are on the road for two weeks but have five home games remaining in the NBA season, beginning March 24. They will not make the playoffs.
A bigger problem could face the Columbus Blue Jackets, who currently occupy a wild-card spot in the NHL’s Eastern Conference. Their next game is scheduled for Thursday in Columbus and they have five home games remaining.
However, despite Gov. DeWine’s recommendation, the Blue Jackets announced that fans will still be allowed into their upcoming games on Thursday and Saturday.
“The Columbus Blue Jackets are aware of the recommendation by Governor DeWine that events at indoor sports and entertainment facilities be conducted without spectators. We have been in contact with the National Hockey League and, given the facts before us, it has been determined that our scheduled games, including this Thursday vs. Pittsburgh and Saturday vs. Nashville, will go on as scheduled and be open to ticketed fans that wish to attend,” the team said in a statement.
The Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer have a scheduled home game on Saturday. They, too, will hold the game as scheduled and keep it open to fans.
Teams in Santa Clara County in California, including the San Jose Sharks, are already being forced to consider alternatives with a ban placed on large gatherings.