West Virginia basketball fans have seen their last in-person action this season.
Following in the steps of numerous other athletic conferences, the Big 12 Conference announced Wednesday that its men’s and women’s conference tournaments would feature a restricted attendance, limiting attendees to “family, friends, credentialed media and essential staff.”
“I understand and support Commissioner Bob Bowlsby’s decision to go to a limited-access protocol for the 2020 Big 12 men’s and women’s basketball championships,” West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons said in a statement. “Based on the recommendation of medical professionals, it is a necessary decision to help curb the threat of spreading the COVID-19.”
The Big 12’s announcement came just hours after the NCAA announced that fans would be barred from attending national tournament games.
In a statement, NCAA President Mark Emmert said that the NCAA came to the decision based on advice from the organization’s COVID-19 advisory panel.
“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,” Emmert said. “This decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of coaches, administrators, fans and, most importantly, our student-athletes.”
West Virginia’s men’s basketball team, ranked No. 22 nationally in the most recent AP Top 25 poll, is expected to participate in the national men’s tournament. The women’s team will likely need to win the Big 12 Tournament in order to receive an invitation.
Participants in the men’s national tournament will be announced on Sunday, while the women’s bracket will be announced on Monday.