Players Association Encourages Coronavirus Precautions Ahead of NCAA Tournament, Including Playing Games Without Fans Present

By Ramzy Nasrallah on February 29, 2020 at 2:22 pm
Aug 11, 2018; Mason, OH, USA; A view of empty seats at center court as rain falls and play is stopped due to weather in the Western and Southern tennis open at Lindner Family Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
© Aaron Doster | USAT Sports

It was only a matter of time before the pandemic of 2020 breached the sports world.

The COVID-19 virus caused by SARS-CoV-2 (referred to in the news as the Coronavirus) which originated in Wuhan, China claimed its first victim in America yesterday. The disease is primarily spread the way colds and flus are passed around, through droplets via sneezes and coughs.

When you get a lot of people together, that helps spread the virus. Today the National College Players Association released a statement on the Coronavirus and college athlete health:

From the statement:

Precautions should include cancelling all auxiliary events that put players in contact with crowds such as meet and greets  and press events.  Athletic programs should also take every possible measure to sanitize buses and airplanes used to transport players.

In regard to the NCAA's March Madness Tournament and other athletic events, there should be a serious discussion about holding competitions without an audience present.

NCPA also references how tech companies like Amazon and Google have recently put significant clamps down on employee travel. Amazon has a freeze in effect for all 798,000 of its employees for non-essential travel, while Google has canceled its Google News Initiative Summit in Sunnyvale and restricted employee travel in the wake of the pandemic, and after the news that one of its employees in Zurich, Switzerland contracted the virus.

It's impossible to untangle economic impact from disease outbreaks, and March Madness is no exception. The games generate over a billion dollars in revenue and in economic impact where they are held and watched. It will be interesting to see what precautions are taken as the Coronavirus continues to spread throughout the country and world.

You can do your part to avoid contracting and spreading disease by always sneezing and coughing into your elbow, and avoiding using your hands to cover your mouth (or not covering your mouth at all). Touching your face, nose and eyes can transfer germs you came into contact with into your body, so try to avoid doing that - or wash/sanitize your hands and fingertips first, if possible.

And wash your hands frequently with soap, water and friction for as long as it takes you to sing the alphabet song in your head (or the first verse of Across the Field out loud, especially in a public restroom).

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