MAC to limit attendance on basketball tournament

After consultation with Ohio governmental and public-health officials, and at the recommendation of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, the Mid-American Conference men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be played, but a restricted attendance policy will be implemented at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland.

The tournaments will continue as scheduled Wednesday through Saturday, but only credentialed institutional personnel, student-athlete family members, credentialed media, TV and radio crews, and official team party members will be permitted to attend the tournaments. The MAC tournaments will be closed to the general public.

“The safety of all is our greatest concern. Since January, I have stated that any decision would follow the advice of state governmental officials and medical professionals. Following the feedback we received today we have taken this action, which is in alignment with the recommendation of Governor DeWine,” Mid-American Conference Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said.

All tickets for the tournaments will be refunded in the form of a credit toward next year’s tournament or a full refund. All ticketholders will receive an email with further instructions regarding the next steps to receive credit or a refund.  Beginning Wednesday during regular business hours, fans can contact their respective athletic departments or the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse box office at 216-420-2200.

Earlier Tuesday, DeWine issued a statement via his Twitter.

“For indoor events, we are asking for no events with spectators other than the athletes, parents and others essential to the game. Right now, outdoor events can continue.”

The women’s quarterfinals are set to begin Wednesday, with the men’s quarterfinals scheduled for Thursday at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

DeWine also issued another statement on Twitter, asking Ohio institutions to “cancel/postpone university-sponsored travel and large meetings.”

With great fanfare surrounding the tournament in downtown Cleveland during the week, the conference released a statement Monday about how events will proceed in Cleveland given the nature of concern around the coronavirus transmission:

“We are working collaboratively with the [Centers] for Disease Control and Prevention, our local and state health and governmental officials, along with our partners, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse regarding public safety for all our student-athletes, coaches and fans for this week’s MAC men’s and women’s Basketball Tournaments. We are proceeding as planned with our tournament and currently moving forward as scheduled. As a reminder, the CDC has encouraged traditional precautionary prevention measures and guidelines. We will continue to monitor this situation on a daily basis.”