By Sally Fahey
March Madness begins with Selection Sunday on March 15.But what if they held an NCAA basketball tournament and no one showed up?
That’s exactly what one players’ advocacy group is asking NCAA officials to consider … saying the org. should STRONGLY think about holding both the men’s and women’s NCAA tourneys this month at crowd-less venues over coronavirus fears.
“There should be a serious discussion about holding competitions without an audience present,” the National College Players Association said in a statement over the weekend.
Coronavirus has rapidly become a growing threat to Americans … with more and more cases being officially diagnosed in the U.S. daily.
Because of this … the NCPA is urging officials to possibly hold their biggest events — the NCAA Tournaments — without fans to protect players.
“In the wake of the emerging Coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA and its colleges should take precautions to protect college athletes,” the group said.
In addition to the possibility of crowd-less tourneys … the group is also advocating schools cancel meet and greets and press events to reduce athletes’ risks of contracting the virus.
In a statement to CNN, an NCAA spokesperson said of the NCPA’s recommendations, “NCAA staff continues to prepare for all NCAA winter and spring championships, but we are keenly aware of Coronavirus and will continue to monitor in coordination with state/local health authorities and the CDC.”
The spokesperson added, “The NCAA Sport Science Institute sent two memos recently to NCAA members directing schools and conference offices to Center for Disease Control and Prevention resources on the issue.”
The NCAA Men’s Tournament is slated to begin on March 17 … while the women’s is scheduled to tip off on March 20.