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The year’s NCAA Tournament–men’s and women’s–will still be held. However, the tournament will be closed to fans in accordance to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. Only “essential staff and limited family” will be allowed to attend the games.

“This decision is in the best interest of the public health, including that of coaches, administrators, fans, and most importantly, our student athletes,” said Emmert. “We recognize the opportunity to compete in an NCAA national championship is an experience of a lifetime for the students and their families.”

March Madness will kick off next Tuesday, March 17, with a First Four game in Dayton, Ohio. TruTv will have the coverage beginning at 6 p.m. EST.

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Report: NCAA Tournament Will Be Played Without Fans In Attendance  was originally published on