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WAMC News

In Blow To Albany, NCAA Tournament To Be Played Without Spectators

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The NCAAs will be played without fans in Albany next week.

The Division I men’s basketball tournament is scheduled to return to Albany for the first time since 2003 next week, but the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel is recommending against opening sporting events to the public. 

In a statement Wednesday, the panel says it believes games “can take place with only essential personnel and limited family attendance.” The games in Albany Thursday and Saturday are essentially sold out.

NCAA President Mark Emmert confirms the tournaments will proceed without the public.

WAMC has reached out to the Times Union Center managament for comment. The arena is owned by Albany County. County Executive Dan McCoy spoke with WAMC News Wednesday evening. 

"It's not a local event. People are going to be coming from all over the U.S., traveling to certain areas, teams are going to be traveling, so they were looking at the concern level and not being able to control if someone is coming from an affected area and might not know they're infected," McCoy said. "It was a call that they made and I respect that call, and we've just got to move forward. I feel sorry for the fans that want to see it, but they want to play it safe and that's the best way to go right now."

McCoy says the area will take an economic hit without crowds.

"We're calculating that now. But it is going to have an impact on the hotels, on the restaurants, it is going to have an impact, but we won't know that impact that it will have right away," he said.

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