"These are unusual times": Big 12 Commissioner apologizes for spectator-free conference games

KMBZ News Staff
March 12, 2020 - 6:49 am
Empty Sprint Center for 2020 Big 12 Basketball Tournament.

© William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The head of the Big 12 Conference knows it's a big deal to lock thousands of basketball fans out of the annual tournament at Sprint Center. 

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the difficult decision to bar most basketball fans from watching tournament games at Sprint Center wasn't taken lightly.

"I just would like to apologize to all of our fans who are not going to be able to be in the venue," Bowlsby said. "They really look forward to this, and as I have said, I think its the best tournament of its kind in the country."

Bowlsby said that after sitting down with experts, it became clear  that while the conference wanted to avoid canceling the tournament outright, Conference officials had to do something. It's all in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.

"The representatives made us understand just how important March Madness is to the culture of our country, and how disconcerting it would be to not play the tournament," Bowlsby said. 

Each team is allowed just 125 tickets for friends and family members to attend the games.  

"To have to take these steps is painful for everyone involved," Bowlsby expressed. "But these are unusual times."

Bowlsby said at a news conference that no one had told him prior to Wednesday that it was ill-advised to have an arena full of basketball fans. There will be a process to refund money to people who bought tickets, so while fans won't be able to cheer on their team, they won't lose tons of money, either.  


 

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