Stunned basketball community reacts to fans being barred from NCAA tournament

The NCAA made the extraordinary decision on Wednesday to move forward with its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments without fans in attendance in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The three-week tournament that embodies fan passion will now be played in empty arenas. The first- and second-round games planned for next week will be played at their originally scheduled venues.

But with fans not playing a factor, the NCAA is considering moving the men’s Final Four from the cavernous Mercedes-Benz Stadium to a smaller venue in Atlanta. The second weekend’s regional sites in Houston, Los Angeles, Indianapolis and New York could also be moved.

It amounts to stunning news in the basketball world and beyond as America comes to grips that life will change in large scale until the spread of the coronavirus is contained.

The basketball community reacted in kind on Wednesday, from players to fans to media members:

After reacting to the initial shock of the news, some looked ahead to how empty stands will impact the games and the broadcasts. Some even found the bright side of a dark situation.

This year’s NCAA tournament will be dramatically different than any we’ve seen before. We have a week to get used to it.

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