The NCAA announced on Wednesday that they will hold all winter championship events in the coming weeks without fans to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
The ruling includes the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments and the NCAA wrestling championships at U.S. Bank Stadium, which is scheduled March 19-21 in Minneapolis.
"The NCAA continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 in consultation with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel," NCAA president Mark 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."
Attendance at the events will be limited to essential staff and limited family and fans will not be allowed inside the arenas.
Neither Minnesota basketball teams are expected to make the NCAA basketball tournament, but fans of North Dakota State, Wisconsin, Iowa and other regional schools are sure to be disappointed by the news.
"While I understand how disappointing this is for fans of all our sports, my decision is based on the current understanding of how COVID-19 is progressing in the United States," Emmert said. "This decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of coaches, administrators fans and, most importantly, our student-athletes."
Just prior to the shocking announcement was a separate release from the Big Ten Conference, which said the conference's men's basketball tournament in Indianapolis will go on as scheduled. The conference has not said anything as of this writing about banning non-essential fans from attending.
The move comes in the wake of several other sports to hold games without fans, including the Golden State Warriors who are under a city-wide mandate in San Francisco. More details here.