The Big Ten Conference announced late Wednesday that it will ban fans from its men’s basketball tournament starting on Thursday, the second day of action at the Indianapolis event.
The decision came less than two hours after the NCAA said it would play its March Madness games in empty stadiums.
The Big Ten said it will only admit student-athletes, coaches, event staff, essential team and conference staff, TV network partners, credentialed media and immediate family members of the participating teams.
In addition, the Big Ten said all winter and spring sport competitions, including championship and tournament events will be limited to the same group of people.
“The main priority of the Big Ten Conference is to ensure the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all relevant information on the COVID-19 virus on a daily basis,” the conference said in a statement.
The tournament kicked off tonight at Bankers Life Fieldhouse with a game pitting Northwestern and Minnesota, with a matchup between Indiana University and Nebraska scheduled for 8:25 p.m.
On Tuesday, the Mid-American Conference and the Big West announced they would hold their tournaments—in Cleveland and Anaheim, California, respectively—without spectators.
However, there were no plans to restrict fan access to the Atlantic Coast Conference’s tournament, which is in its second day in Greensboro, North Carolina, or the Pac-12 tournament, which played the first game of its tournament in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
Later Wednesday, the Southeastern Conference is to begin its men’s tournament in Nashville, Tennessee, and the Big East is set to start at Madison Square Garden in New York. There were no plans to restrict fan access to those events.