May 28, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Big West basketball tourneys will be played without fans over concerns about coronavirus

A look at the Big West Tournament Championship Trophy that UCI received last year. (Photo Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone)

The Big West Conference announced Tuesday that this week’s men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be played without spectators as a precaution for preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

The tournament begins with women’s early round games Tuesday and Wednesday at the Walter Pyramid on the campus of Long Beach State University. 

The men’s quarterfinal games will be played Thursday at Honda Center followed by the men’s and women’s semifinals on Friday. Both championship games will be played at Honda Center on Saturday, March 14. Fans will not be allowed into either venue. 

UCI is the top-seeded team and will face No. 8 Long Beach State Thursday at 6 p.m. at Honda Center.

“The Big West Board of Directors, comprised of the chief executive officers of the nine member universities, strongly feel that this is a prudent way to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus while being sensitive to our student-athletes who have pointed towards playing in the tournament all season,” said Big West Commissioner Dennis Farrell.

“Many of our institutions are developing plans to minimize the interaction of individuals on their campuses that could include the downsizing of events. 

“I want to thank the management teams of the Walter Pyramid and Honda Center for their understanding and assistance as the Big West worked through this extremely difficult decision.” 

“I’m sorry for the inconvenience this will cause our fans, but I do want to stress that all games will be televised on the ESPN family of networks,” said Farrell. 

Those who have purchased tickets for the event may receive a full refund from their respective points of purchase. 

Members of the NCAA Division I Big West Conference are Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton, CSUN, Long Beach State, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, and Hawai.

The Ivy League has cancelled both of its tournaments and the Mid-American Conference is taking action similar to that of the Big West, a conference spokesman noted.

There will be a limited amount of people besides players and coaches who will be allowed to attend, including media, according to conference officials.

Source: Big West Conference. This story will be updated