College Players Group Asks NCAA to Consider Keeping Fans Away from Basketball Tournament Games Due to Coronavirus Concerns

COURTESY: OREGON ATHLETICS

The National College Players Association, a nonprofit advocating for the rights and safety of collegiate athletes, is calling on the NCAA to consider holding NCAA tournament games without fans due to its concern over coronavirus.

“In the wake of the emerging coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA and its colleges should take precautions to protect college athletes,” the group wrote in a public statement Saturday. “In regard to the NCAA’s March Madness tournament and other athletic events, there should be a serious discussion about holding competitions without an audience present. …The NCAA and its colleges must act now, there is no time to waste.”

The NCPA was launched as a nonprofit group by former UCLA football players, including the group’s executive director, Ramogi Huma, in 2001 with the aim of advocating for athletes. Its website pegs the group as “the only independent voice for college athletes across the nation.” The NCPA claims to have more than 20,000 members.

Amid concerns that a potential outbreak of the coronavirus in the U.S. could jeopardize major sporting events, the NCAA’s Sports Science Institute issued memos earlier this week to its members, directing schools toward Centers for Disease Control resources while maintaining preparations for the upcoming NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Scott Gleeson