By Dylan Manfre
Following suit of other collegiate athletic conferences, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) announced that the remainder of its men’s and women’s basketball postseason tournament will continue without fans in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
According to a statement released by the MAAC on March 11 around 10 p.m., “Attendance at all MAAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball, and Esports games will be limited to student-athletes, coaches, event staff, essential team and Conference staff, TV network partners, credentialed media, and immediate family members of the participating teams.”
Rider men’s basketball Head Coach Kevin Baggett spoke on March 4 on how important the fan contributions would be to the tournament since it is being played in Atlantic City, New Jersey, at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall.
The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference has issued the following statement concerning the COVID-19 virus and this week’s Basketball and Esports Championships. pic.twitter.com/W6TE6SvRib— #MAACSports (@MAACSports) March 12, 2020
This inevitably means that the men’s basketball team’s game on March 12 at 7 p.m. will be played in front of empty stands in addition to the remaining games on the men’s and women’s brackets.
“We need [the fans] in the worst way,” Baggett said on March 4. “They’re unbelievable. They’ve done an unbelievable job here [at home]. To have them travel down [to Atlantic City] and be there for us means everything for us.”
The announcement was made during the first half of a men’s quarterfinal game between Iona and Saint Peter’s on March 11.
During that time, the NBA postponed the remainder of its season after reports surfaced that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert preliminary tested positive for the coronavirus.
On March 10, Rider University announced that it extended its spring break one week through March 27.
On March 12, Rider Senior Associate Athletic Director & Senior Woman Administrator Karen Torchia confirmed there are no tickets available for Rider students. The pep band, cheer team and dance team plan to be in attendance.
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