NEW YORK — The Atlantic 10 Conference has announced that it is limiting the amount of fans that can attend its men’s basketball championships at the Barclays Center this week in response to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a press release issued Wednesday night, remaining contests in the championship will be restricted to teams, network television, working media, essential personnel, and team affiliated families and guests.
“Although this was a difficult decision it’s imperative that the Atlantic 10 act in the best interest of our student-athletes, teams and member institutions,” Atlantic 10 Commissioner Bernadette McGlade said in the press release. “This a very unique and serious situation given the global impact of COVID-19, and as disappointing as this is for our fans and spectators, this decision had to be made. I want to thank everyone who is and has been supporting our basketball programs this season and encourage all to tune in to our games on our television partners.”
As McGlade mentioned in her statement, the games will still be televised as second round and quarterfinal action will be carried by NBC Sports Network, the semifinals by CBS Sports Network and CBS will carry the championship game.
Earlier in the night a spokesperson for the Atlantic 10 stated prior to Fordham’s postgame media availability that fans would be allowed back into Barclays Center as they had been Wednesday but that there would be meetings to make a final determination.
The lone previous restriction by the conference had been media being able to have post-game locker room access, limiting this privilege to team-related personnel only.
The NCAA is only allowing essentially staff and family members into all of its postseason tournaments. Most other conferences have taken the same step or canceled their tournament.
Various Atlantic 10 institutions have cancelled in-person classes for a varying period of time and several athletic events have been cancelled. Duquesne did play its lacrosse match Wednesday night, during which it hosted Akron. There are no more home contests for Duquesne until Mar. 27.
The A-10 Championships will resume Thursday with four second-round contests including Duquesne taking on Fordham at 8:30 p.m. on NBCSN.