“The NCAA continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 in consultation with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel,” 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.”
On Thursday, however, there were announcements that the Big Ten, SEC, Big 12, American Athletic conferences and Atlantic 10 canceled their men's basketball conference tournaments, The Washington Post reported.
Emmert's statement came after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he will issue an order that there would be no spectators allowed at the NCAA First Four games, which will be played in Dayton, WHIO reported.
The announcements capped a hectic day -- and a busy few weeks -- in the sports world.
The biggest question looming is the status of the Tokyo Olympics, which are scheduled to begin in July. So far, Japanese and International Olympic Committee officials have said the Games will proceed as scheduled, but there have been talks about whether competitions should be held without spectators, The New York Times reported. There will be no spectators when the Olympic torch for the Tokyo Games is lit Thursday in Olympia, Greece, the newspaper reported.
Here are some other notable cancellations or postponements:
Auto racing: Formula One officials said its upcoming Grand Prix in Bahrain will be held without spectators, while next month's Chinese Grand Prix has been canceled. Grand Prix in Bahrain will be closed to spectators, while the Chinese Grand Prix, which had been scheduled for April, was postponed.
The NASCAR race will go on this weekend in Atlanta but without fans in the stands.
Baseball: The San Francisco Giants announced Wednesday its March 24 spring training game against the Oakland Athletics was been canceled.
The ban, effective immediately, came after San Francisco health officials announced a ban on group events where 1,000 or more people were expected to gather.
“The health and safety of our community is of the utmost importance to us,” the Giants said in a statement. “In light of the City and County of San Francisco’s announcement today ... we will not play our upcoming March 24th exhibition game against the Oakland A’s at Oracle Park in San Francisco."
Thursday, Major League Baseball announced that it will delay opening day by at least two weeks.
Basketball: The Golden State Warriors confirmed reports that their scheduled game against the Brooklyn Nets will be played Thursday night without an audience.
“Due to escalating concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, and in consultation with the City and County of San Francisco, tomorrow night’s game vs. the Nets at Chase Center will be played without fans,” team officials said in a statement.
NHL: The National Hockey League has not canceled any games as of Thursday, but are telling teams not to conduct morning skates, practices or meetings.
Rugby: Events already canceled include the Six Nations and Women's Six Nations rugby matches that had been set for February and March, and the Hong Kong and Singapore Sevens rugby tournament.
Running: The Tokyo Marathon was restricted to elite runners, and the Boston Marathon in April also could be impacted.
Soccer: FIFA officials said it would postpone the Asian qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, which is scheduled to be played in Qatar.
MLS has also suspended its season, Sports Illustrated reported.
The league made an official announcement less than an hour later that the season is on hold for 30 days.
Tennis: On Sunday, officials at the BNP Paribas Open in California canceled this year's professional tennis tournament at Indian Wells. The two-week event drew 475,000 fans last year.
On Thursday, ATP suspended men's professional tennis tour for six weeks.