Robert Morris basketball coach Andy Toole knows at least three Colonials fans that won’t miss the program’s first March Madness appearance since 2015 for anything.
After defeating St. Francis Tuesday to take the Northeast Conference title and punch the team’s ticket to March Madness 2020, there’s a chance Robert Morris will get sent to Dayton, Ohio, for one of the First Four games.
On Tuesday afternoon, Ohio governor Mike DeWine pushed for indoor sporting events to be held in empty venues. He asked that games be played without “spectators other than athletes’ parents, and others essential to the game” in fear of mass spread of the coronavirus.
“I would wish the governor luck in keeping my wife out of that game, if he decides they’re not going to have fans,” Toole, 39, told reporters after the championship game Tuesday. “He’s going to call my 7-year-old and my 5-year-old and tell them they can’t come to the NCAA Tournament. Good luck.”
Toole, who’s served as head coach of Robert Morris since 2010, is one of many public figures in sports to be questioned about how the coronavirus is affecting them. With widely attended events like March Madness and the Olympics coming up, the idea of holding games without fans has been heavily considered.
“We’re just happy to be playing,” Toole said. “Whatever goes on outside of that, we can’t worry about it. We’re going to be ready to play, whoever our opponent is, wherever they send us. We’re just happy to put the jersey on one more day.
“We’re all figuring it out as we go,” he said of virus concerns. “We don’t necessarily know what’s right, what’s wrong, and everybody’s trying to make the best decisions possible. Everybody associated with the NCAA Tournament will do the same.”