By Peter Brennan

The NCAA just bit the bullet:

The impending NCAA basketball tournament will be held without fans due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

“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 a 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.”

The NCAA announcement came after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he will issue an order that would ban fans from NCAA tournament games in Cleveland and Dayton.

Sporting events around the world have been affected by the virus. States and cities have banned large gatherings, leading to teams like the Golden State Warriors to say that they would play in front of empty arenas.

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