Athlete Advocacy Group Says March Madness Should Be Played Without Fans Due to Coronavirus Fears

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As concerns continue to grow over coronavirus, the National College Players Association is calling the NCAA to consider holding March Madness games without fans.

The NCPA recently released a statement urging the NCAA to use caution and protect athletes from the virus.

"In the wake of the emerging coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA and its colleges should take precautions to protect college athletes. They should also make public which actions will be taken and when. Precautions should include cancelling all auxiliary events that put players in contact with crowds such as meet and greets and press events. Athletic programs should also take every possible measure to sanitize buses and airplanes used to transport players," the NCPA said.

"In regard to the NCAA's March Madness Tournament and other athletic events, there should be a serious discussion about holding competitions without an audience present."

Concerns over coronavirus have led to a number of sporting events being canceled or played without fans. In January, Miami (Ohio) postponed a pair of basketball games due to potential coronavirus threats, and Michigan's football team canceled its annual spring trip abroad due to the virus. The Wolverines had not picked a trip location yet, and instead will stay home to focus on community work in Ann Arbor.

Serie A decided to hold four of last weekend's games, including Sunday's Derby d'Italia between Juventus and Inter Milan, in empty stadiums because of the virus outbreak in Italy.

Despite worries over the Tokyo Olympics being threatened by coronavirus, organizers are planning to move forward with the Games as scheduled this summer.

The global death toll from coronavirus has reached more than 3,000, and the number of people infected has topped 89,000. In the U.S., infections have climbed to at least 80.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.