COLLEGE STATION — Mere minutes after announcing the Southeastern Conference tournament would be canceled, the SEC doubled down on their decision. All sports in the SEC will be suspended until March 30 for further reevaluation due to the high spread of COVID-19.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey is expected to address the public at Noon on further comments.
As it stands at the moment, there's no guarantee on of the games will be rescheduled or canceled for the remainder of the season.
The SEC announced on Wednesday evening that only essential staff, limited family and credentialed media would be allowed into conference events through at least March 30. Those changes will most immediately affect the men’s conference basketball tournament in Nashville, but they extend to all SEC events on all SEC campuses beginning Thursday, March 12.
The SEC made a statement on the situation on Wednesday night.
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.
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Sankey issued a statement later that evening:
"In light of recent developments beyond our control related to the spread of the coronavirus, including a recommendation from the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel, and after consultation with our member universities, we have made the difficult decision to hold the 2020 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament in Nashville without spectators beginning with games of Thursday, March 12. Effective immediately, the policy will also apply to other SEC Championship events and on-campus regular season games scheduled through at least the end of March.
"After conferring with local and national health authorities, we remain confident in our ability to safeguard the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and other staff who will be participating as well as the limited number of family members and media who will be in attendance at the tournament.
"We regret the inconvenience and disappointment this decision has caused our fans, especially those who have already traveled to Nashville for the tournament."
Prior to the cancellation of all events, the SEC has implemented the following enhanced health measures for the 2020 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament:
Use of hospital grade disinfectant to sanitize locker rooms before teams arrive and immediately upon departure.
Sanitization of game balls with hospital grade disinfectant after each practice and game.
Sanitization of team benches plus band and cheerleader seating areas following each game.
Hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes and Lysol spray in team locker rooms;Hand sanitizers at scorer's table, in officials' locker rooms, operations offices and media areas.
Texas A&M was expected to begin the SEC tournament Thursday evening against Missouri. The Aggies finished as the No.7 seed in conference play after going 10-8 against fellow opponents. A&M head coach Buzz Williams was named the AP SEC Coach of the Year on Monday morning.
A&M was also expected to travel to Auburn Ala. for a three-game series on the diamond against the Tigers.