SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament will go on without fans

Greg Arias

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – 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 Thursday following the recommendation of the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel related to conducting sporting events closed to the public.

The SEC issued a statement from SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey:

"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."

What this means for fans is that most will not be allowed inside the arena for the remainder of the event's four-day run. Only essential personnel, limited family and credentialed media will be allowed to attend the rest of the event. 

Vanderbilt also added the following in announcing the move by the conference here on Wednesday night. 

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 March 12 through at least March 30, at which time the conference and its member universities will re-evaluate conditions.

Out of an abundance of caution, Vanderbilt Athletics has enacted this policy for all of its varsity programs currently in season, including lacrosse, a member of the American Athletic Conference.

Activities for Vanderbilt’s out-of-season sports have been suspended until further notice. The football team’s Black and Gold Spring Game, originally scheduled for April 3, will be moved to a later date.

For the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament, automatic refunds of ticket purchases will be made to fans who are the original purchaser of the tickets from SEC office or an SEC university, or a verified purchaser on the SEC Ticket Exchange powered by Ticketmaster. Vanderbilt Athletics will contact ticket purchasers as refund policies and procedures are determined.

Vanderbilt Athletics will continue to provide updates to this fluid situation as they become available.

For information and updates related to the broad set of actions Vanderbilt University is taking to address this public health situation, please visit vu.edu/coronavirus.

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