MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The NCAA is going fanless for its tournaments in an effort to limit coronavirus exposure.

The upcoming championship events, including men’s and women’s March Madness games, will be played with “only essential staff and limited family attendance,” said NCAA president Mark Emmert. “This decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of coaches, administrators, fans, and, most importantly, our student athletes.”

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The NCAA said it will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments as needed.

The statement from the NCAA president:

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The advisory panel said in a statement:

“The NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel recognizes the fluidity of COVID-19 and its impact on hosting events in a public space. COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in the United States, and behavioral risk mitigation strategies are the best option for slowing the spread of this disease. This is especially important because mildly symptomatic individuals can transmit COVID-19. Given these considerations, coupled with a more unfavorable outcome of COVID-19 in older adults – especially those with underlying chronic medical conditions – we recommend against sporting events open to the public. We do believe sport events can take place with only essential personnel and limited family attendance, and this protects our players, employees, and fans.”

It appears the decision will affect all NCAA sports. It remains unclear if this will affect conference tournament games. The Big Ten tournament starts Wednesday.

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