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UPDATE: SEC Cancels Men’s Tournament, Restricts Access To All Sporting Events Until The End Of March

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NCAA Womens Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-Kentucky vs Mississippi State Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: The SEC has canceled the remainder of the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament in Nashville.

Based on the latest developments and the continued spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Southeastern Conference today announced the cancellation of the remainder of the 2020 Men’s Basketball Tournament in Nashville.

”We understand that this decision will be disappointing to our student-athletes and coaches who have been preparing all season to compete in this event as well as viewers at home,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “While this was not an easy decision, the health and well-being of our entire SEC community is of paramount importance.”

The SEC’s regular season champion, the University of Kentucky, will be awarded the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

From the SEC:

The Southeastern Conference has announced it will conduct the 2020 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament with only essential staff, limited family and credentialed media in attendance at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville for the remainder of the week beginning on Thursday following the recommendation of the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel related to conducting sporting events closed to the public.

In addition, the SEC announced that all regular season contests in all sports on SEC campuses and SEC Championship events will be conducted with similar attendance restrictions effective Thursday, March 12 through at least March 30 at which time the conference and its member universities will re-evaluate conditions.

This announcement follows a day of similar announcements across the rest of Division 1 and wider world of sports as the nation comes to grips with the coronavirus pandemic.

Unfortunately, this will affect a wide swath of important events on LSU’s campus. Baseball will lose out on home crowds for the upcoming weekend against Mississippi State, as well as the Wally Pontiff Classic, and next Wednesday’s special home game against NAIA St Thomas, the program where Coach Mainieri got his start in coaching. Softball has home weekends against Mississippi St and UGA, as well as it’s annual Ovarian Cancer fundraiser on March 21st. Gym’s Senior Night would have been this Friday. #1 ranked Beach Volleyball will play in an empty stadium for it’s final two home meets of the year (and, worst of all, Bark At The Beach is canceled).

LSU says that the restrictions are currently temporary, but they may be extended as the situation changes. The ticket office will also be in contact with fans regarding refunds, though they ask for patience in this unprecedented situation.

Hopefully, this will all blow over and we’ll be back in the stands in April. But it’s also possible events could be postponed or canceled, as the NBA suddenly decided to do tonight.