There’s a great chance that USC make the NCAA tournament this year. However, they won’t have the support of the fans behind them for the tournament. NCAA president Mark Emmert released a statement that all NCAA tournament attendance will be limited due to concerns of the progression of COVID-19.
“The NCAA continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 in consultation with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in his statement. “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.”
”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. 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.”
There’s been speculation on whether the NCAA tournament would ban the public from attending games with the coronavirus progressing. It’s already affected the sports world to the point where college athletics has decided to take action. The Ivy League canceled their men’s and women’s tournaments and awarded the regular season champions automatic bids while the Big West and MAC will hold their tournaments in empty arenas.
The Pac-12 restricted media access in the locker room due to concerns of COVID-19 for the conference tournament in Las Vegas. The state of Ohio already issued an order barring large crowds.
USC athletics already feeling the effects closed off their events to the public and limited it to personnel and close family to watch games. USC football, who was scheduled to have open practices, will close off their practice to the public. Even the Trojans Marching Band were unable to make the trip to the Pac-12 Tournament due to travel restrictions.
The atmosphere of March Madness always involved the fans in attendance adding to the experience. The thought of no fans in attendance for the NCAA tournament is a weird feeling, but a necessary one when you think of the safety and health of everyone involved.
The sports world has been affected by COVID-19. Many has either shut down and canceled their sporting events or played in empty arenas/stadiums. All of the major professional sports leagues have made the move to keep the media out of the locker rooms.
Games will still be televised for everyone to view. Emmert is reportedly looking to move the Final Four out of Mercades-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia to a smaller venue. The first and second rounds will be played in their current locations.
USC is scheduled to play the winner of the Arizona and Washington game on Thursday at 2:30 PM. As of right now the Pac-12 tournament will go on with fans in attendance, however the Pac-12 and CDC will keep in contact if anything does indeed change.