Big Ten

Minnesota and Northwestern face off in front of a sparse crowd during the opening matchup of the Big Ten men's basketball tournament on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Illinois.

Shortly after the NCAA announced it will be holding the 2020 NCAA Tournament and other winter championships without fan attendance due to the spread of the coronavirus, the Big Ten conference announced similar measures in a press release.

The Big Ten conference announced that, starting tomorrow, the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament will be held without fans. Event staff, essential team and Conference personnel, credentialed media and immediate family members of the participating teams will be the only ones allowed in the arena. 

Additionally, the conference announced that all remaining winter and spring competitions in the Big Ten will follow these attendance guidelines.

“The main priority of the Big Ten Conference is to ensure the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all relevant information on the COVID-19 virus on a daily basis,” the statement said.

NCAA president Mark Emmert voiced similar concerns in his statement regarding how the spread of coronavirus would affect the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA’s decision came two hours before the Big Ten’s statement.

“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,” Emmert said in a statement. “This decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of coaches, administrators, fans, and most importantly, our student-athletes.”

The Nebraska men’s basketball team faces Indiana tonight in what will be one of the last Big Ten events played in front of fans for the winter and spring sports seasons. The contest will begin 25 minutes after the conclusion of Northwestern and Minnesota.