JHU not allowing fans at NCAA men's basketball tournament amid coronavirus fears

JHU Bluejays
Posted at 9:48 AM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 17:20:03-05

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — Following Maryland's first three confirmed cases of COVID-19, Johns Hopkins University will not allow fans to attend the first two rounds of this weekend's NCAA Division III men's basketball tournament.

RELATED: Gov. Hogan declares state of emergency following positive coronavirus cases

Johns Hopkins University is hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA Division III men’s basketball tournament this weekend without fans. The move to eliminate fans came as the number of the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States continues to grow.

“I think it might be a little bit of an overreaction,” said Johns Hopkins University sophomore Chris Bedell. “At the same time, I understand they're looking out for the students and the players and everyone here.”

The decision was made as Maryland recently confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

The first three cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Maryland on Thursday. The cases prompted Gov. Larry Hogan to declare a state of emergency.

“Based on the CDC guidance for large gatherings, we have determined that it is prudent to hold this tournament without spectators,” the university said in a statement Thursday.

“We are not making any determination about other JHU events at this time; while we await further guidance from public health authorities, we will be assessing large events on a case-by-case basis.”

The school is offering refunds to those who had purchased tickets for the games Friday and Saturday in Baltimore. Anyone who purchased tickets in advance is asked to call Johns Hopkins Department of Athletics at 410-516-7490 or during regular business hours to obtain a refund.

“It’s tough to be selfish about it but you’ve got to keep everyone safe,” said freshman Carson Currie.

All three games at Johns Hopkins this weekend will be streamed live on HopTV.

Maryland officials said Friday they have launched a widespread search of individuals who may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus by one of the three Montgomery County residents who have been infected.