On the same day that the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a pandemic, the Big East Conference declared it was concerned about silly things like that when there is basketball to be played.
Per Big East commissioner Val Ackerman on Tiki and Tierney, “I spoke with city officials this afternoon and they continue to affirm that the City is not issuing any directives on the cancellation of gatherings. When we had to decide on spectators or not, (we know) that the risks were low. (We knew) it was likely to escalate in the coming weeks and I think that probably prompted the NCAA’s decision of the last hour because they’re planning a tournament that starts next week in multiple venues”
The decision that Ackerman is referencing is this one.
Multiple coaches have come out in support of Emmert’s decision while acknowledging that it will have an impact both on the atmosphere and the way the games are played. Emmert is, at least, erring on the side of caution and the advice of almost literally every doctor and health expert in the nation. Ackerman, for reasons that likely have nothing to do with caring about fans or experience but everything to do with the almighty dollar, is not.