March Madness and coronavirus: NCAA tournament to be held without fans

INDIANAPOLIS — March Madness without fans is now a reality.

The NCAA announced Wednesday that it will follow the lead of other sporting events and restrict fan access to its signature event, the men’s basketball tournament, due to the coronavirus outbreak. All other winter sports championships, including the women’s basketball tournament, will be under the same restriction. 

The news comes just five days before Selection Sunday, when the 68-team bracket is revealed. The near-last-minute disruption presents an extraordinary logistical challenge to the NCAA and its broadcast partners, CBS and Turner Sports, and stands as the most significant disruption in the 81-year history of an event that has become a staple of American sporting culture. But the ongoing national health crisis left the NCAA with little option.

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