NCAA College Basketball

NCAA March Madness games in Cleveland, Dayton will not have spectators, says Gov. DeWine


COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Wednesday he will issue an order barring spectators from indoor sporting events in the state due to coronavirus concerns.

That means no spectators at next week’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament events — the “First Four” games in Dayton and the first and second-round games scheduled for Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

DeWine said details about outdoor sporting events — such as Indians and Reds baseball and the Ohio State football Spring Game — are still being worked out.

After DeWine’s announcement, NCAA president Mark Emmert issued a statement saying tournament games will be played “with only essential staff and limited family attendance.”

DeWine on Tuesday recommended that spectators not attend those NCAA Tournament games and other large, indoor gatherings. In response, the OHSAA barred most spectators from its state tournament games, and the Mid-American Conference did the same from its tournament this week at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

So far, four coronavirus cases have been detected in Ohio.

Thursday night, the Big Ten announced it would prohibit fan attendance at remaining tournament contests for the winter season. That includes the rest of the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament in Indianapolis this week and the men’s ice hockey tournament at campus sites. Ohio State was scheduled to host Michigan on Saturday.

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