Coronavirus continues to impact sports across Connecticut
Concern over the coronavirus continued to significantly impact sporting events across the country五福彩票注册送15元 Wednesday, leading to decisions felt throughout the state and the region.
It was an unprecedented day in sports, as the NCAA announced it would stage its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments without fans. In a statement issued by NCAA president Mark Emmert, the organization recommended “only essential staff and limited family” attend upcoming championship events.
The UConn women’s basketball program is schedule to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs the weekend of March 20. The games will be played inside a nearly-empty building.
“It’s unfortunate that these measures have to be taken at this time, but we are experiencing something unprecedented,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said in a statement. “As much as our fans and players are disappointed, I truly believe they understand that this is the prudent and responsible thing to do. My heart goes out to those who are suffering from this virus and to those who have or may lose loved ones.
“Please take all the necessary precautions to minimize your exposure and enjoy the games on ESPN.”
On a conference level, both the Ivy League and NESCAC announced the cancellation of spring sports. Yale competes in the Ivy League, Wesleyan and Trinity in the NESCAC.
Yale announced Wednesday night that it is withdrawing from the ECAC hockey playoffs. The Bulldogs were scheduled to play a best-of-three series at Quinnipiac this weekend. Harvard also pulled out of its ECAC series with RPI earlier in the day.
Quinnipiac will instead play Princeton in the conference playoff series.
The Yale’s men’s basketball team qualified for the NCAA tournament by winning the regular-season title. On Tuesday, the Ivy League canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments scheduled for this weekend at Harvard.
In a release, the Ivy League stated “individual institutions will decide whether or not winter teams and student-athletes who have qualified for postseason play will participate.”
A Yale spokesman said there was no decision at this time.
The Yale men’s lacrosse team is ranked No. 5 in the nation and was scheduled to play at No. 2 Cornell Saturday. Yale won the NCAA Division I title in 2018 and played in the championship game last season.
The announcement by the Ivy League came just 90 minutes before the NCAA released it statement, which will have a deep impact the college basketball’s lucrative March Madness.
“The NCAA continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 in consultation with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel,” Emmert said. “Based on their advice and my discussions with the NCAA Board of Governors, I have made the decision to conduct our upcoming championship events, including the Division I men's and women's basketball tournaments, with only essential staff and limited family attendance.
“While I understand how disappointing this is for all fans of our sports, my decision is based on the current understanding of how COVID-19 is progressing in the United States. This decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of coaches, administrators, fans and, most importantly, our student-athletes. We recognize the opportunity to compete in an NCAA national championship is an experience of a lifetime for the students and their families. Today, we will move forward and conduct championships consistent with the current information and will continue to monitor and make adjustments as needed.”
The NCAA’s directive followed a series of decisions at the local level. In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine said he would not allow fans to attend NCAA Tournament games in Dayton and Cleveland. Conferences and schools around the country五福彩票注册送15元 are also restricting access to games.
The men’s basketball field will be announced Sunday. UConn is set to play in the American Athletic Conference Tournament in Fort Worth, Texas beginning Thursday and .
The locations for the men’s tournament are Cleveland, Spokane, Albany, Sacramento, Omaha, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Houston and New York. The Final Four will be held in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, .
The women’s tournament bracket will be anounced Monday. UConn won the AAC tournament and will host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament on campus. Dallas, Portland, Ore., Fort Wayne Ind., and Greenville, S.C will host regional games, with the Final Four in New Orleans.
UConn is still expected to travel to out-of-state sites even though Gov. Ned Lamont suspended all travel by state employees. Teams from Southern Connecticut, Western Connecticut, Central Connecticut and Eastern Connecticut canceled athletic trips to Florida and other destinations.
Other schools and teams have also been impacted.
The NCAA Division II men’s basketball regional being hosted by the University of Bridgeport will be played without spectators.
The eight-team tournament begins with four games on Saturday with Jefferson playing Stonehill at noon. St. Thomas Aquinas and Dominican will play at 2:30 p.m. Host and No. 1 seed Bridgeport meets Daemen at 5 p.m. followed by Saint Anselm and Le Moyne at 7:30 p.m.
Regional semifinals are set for 5 and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday with the winners squaring off on Tuesday at 7 p.m. with a spot in the Division II national quarterfinals on the line.
In announcing the decision to play the games without fans, Bridgeport cited “confirmed cases of COVID-19 and Governor of Connecticut Ned Lamont’s declaration of a State of Emergency in Connecticut.”
Sacred Heart University said on its its men’s basketball program has “declined to accept its invitation to postseason tournaments, due to an abundance of caution surrounding quick-turnaround travel needs for the tournament. We are appreciative of the consideration of selection.”
The Pioneers lost to Saint Francis in the Northeast Conference tournament semifinals Saturday.
The school also announced it was limiting attendance for all 五福彩票注册送15元 events — including postseason tournaments — to players, coaches, essential personnel, credentialed media and four immediate family members.
The Sacred Heart hockey team is beginning a best-of-three Atlantic Hockey playoff series against Robert Morris Thursday at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport.
Hartford Athletic, a member of the United Soccer League, announced it was postponing its first two 五福彩票注册送15元 matches on March 21 and April 4. The matches will be rescheduled at a later date and tickets already purchased for the postponed game will be valid for the rescheduled games at Dillon Stadium.