Coronavirus affecting athletic events; Could NCAA tournament be next?

Omaha is hosting part of the NCAA tournament
Posted at 6:29 PM, Mar 10, 2020

OMAHA, Neb. — Weeks ago, the Centers for Disease Control stated that due to the Coronavirus, public events could be affected to prevent spreading. Now, some states have banned spectators from attending indoor sporting events and with the NCAA tournament just 10 days away, many are wondering if the general public will be allowed to attend.

On Tuesday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the state is not allowing any spectators to attend any indoor athletic events for the time being. The Arnold Sports Festival based out of Columbus, Ohio barred the public from attending the event last weekend.

"The reason why people compete at the Arnold is to get in front of 100,000 people and show off what they put the work into so I mean, it takes everything out of it," local fitness trainer Chet Fortune said.

The Ivy League also announced Tuesday that it's canceling its upcoming women's and men's tournaments. On March 20 and 22, Omaha is set to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Local business owners are worried that if fans aren't allowed to attend from the local community and around the country, they'll lose business.

"It's going to really reduce the amount of people that come in to Omaha. All the visitors won't be here. So it's going to be real bad for us if that's the case," local business owner Rich Tokheim said.

For the time being, all tournaments remain unaffected and spectators are still allowed to attend.

"Today we are planning to conduct our championships as planned, however, we are evaluating the COVID-19 situation daily and will make decisions accordingly," NCAA Chief Operating Officer Donald Remy said in a statement.

Stay tuned to KMTV for updates.