The Atlantic 10 Conference tournament began Wednesday with fans in the stands at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. It will continue Thursday with a restricted attendance policy, the league announced Wednesday night.
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That means most fans of the third-ranked and top-seeded Dayton Flyers will not be able to attend the quarterfinal game at noon Friday.
"Although this was a difficult decision, it’s imperative that the Atlantic 10 act in the best interest of our student-athletes, teams and member institutions,” A-10 Commissioner Bernadette McGlade said in a statement. “This a very unique and serious situation given the global impact of COVID-19, and as disappointing as this is for our fans and spectators, this decision had to be made. I want to thank everyone who is and has been supporting our basketball programs this season and encourage all to tune in to our games on our television partners."
Attendance will be restricted to “teams, network television, working media, essential personnel, and team affiliated families/guests.”
No. 9 seed Virginia Commonwealth plays No. 8 seed Massachusetts in the first second-round game at noon Thursday. Dayton plays the winner of that game. The Flyers flew to New York City on Wednesday evening.
Other conferences, including the Big Ten and Big 12, made the same decision Wednesday. The policies were put in place in response to the potential spread of the Coronovirus.
“The main priority of the Big Ten Conference is to ensure the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media,” read a Big Ten press release, “as we continue to monitor all relevant information on the COVID-19 virus on a daily basis.”
The Big Ten tournament began Wednesday with two games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Fans were allowed, but the four games Thursday will be “limited to student-athletes, coaches, event staff, essential team and conference staff, TV network partners, credentialed media, and immediate family members of the participating teams.”
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The same goes for all further Big Ten “winter and spring sport competitions, including championship/tournament events.”
There was a similar announcement from the Big 12, which began its men’s basketball tournament Wednesday in Kansas City, Mo.
“Beginning with tomorrow's tournament games, we will be implementing limited access,” the Big 12 announced. Teams will have access to 125 tickets for staff and guests of student-athletes.”
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