The NCAA announced Wednesday afternoon that attendance at championship events, including both the men's and women's Division I basketball tournaments, will be restricted to essential staff and limited family attendance amidst the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
NCAA President Mark Emmert released a statement Wednesday on the NCAA's decision, calling it "disappointing" for college sports fans:
The NCAA's decision follows the Ivy League's decision on Tuesday to cancel its men's and women's basketball tournaments (see story) and send its regular-season champions to the respective NCAA tournaments.
Multiple programs in Philadelphia area could be affected by the NCAA's decision.
Villanova men's basketball team, which has been one of the 20 or so best teams in the country all season, will compete in the men's NCAA tournament. The Wildcats are seeking their third national championship since 2016.
Villanova head coach Jay Wright told reporters Wednesday that, once he saw the Ivy League cancel its tournament, he felt this decision was a possibility:
Jay Wright said they knew this was a possibility in the NCAA Tournament when the Ivy League and others cancelled tourneys and banned fans pic.twitter.com/rTwMn3jrkF— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) March 11, 2020
Drexel women's basketball team is the No. 1 seed in the CAA tournament, which is still scheduled to go on as planned as of Wednesday afternoon, and even without a tournament win the Dragons could end up in the women's NCAA tournament via an at-large bid. The program hasn't reached the NCAA tournament since 2009, its only previous appearance.
Temple men's basketball is a long shot, but the Owls begin competition in the AAC tournament on Thursday evening, which is still scheduled to go on as planned as of Wednesday afternoon.
Similarly, La Salle men's basketball is a long shot, but the Explorers begin competition in the Atlantic 10 tournament on Thursday evening, which is still scheduled to go on as planned as of Wednesday afternoon.