Final 3 days of C-USA Tournament will be closed to general public

2020 C-USA Tournament

Drake Kizer

The WKU men’s and women’s basketball teams are still scheduled to open play in the Conference USA Tournament on Thursday, but the Hilltoppers and Lady Toppers will be playing their postseason games without any fans in attendance in the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.

C-USA, in consultation with the NCAA, local officials and health and safety officials, implemented a restricted attendance procedure for the rest of the event due to concerns about the coronavirus, the league office announced in a statement on Wednesday night.

The league had already hosted eight games with fans in attendance throughout the day on Wednesday, but decided further contests at the event will be closed to the general public. 

All remaining games will be played with the official team party, student-athlete family, credentialed media, television and radio crews and essential personnel, which will include both of the opening games for the Hilltoppers and Lady Toppers in the 2020 postseason.

News of the changes came about 15 minutes after the NBA announced it was suspending the 2019-2020 season “until further notice” after a Utah Jazz player “preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19” prior to the tipoff of Wednesday’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, according to an NBA release.

WKU Athletics also released a statement Wednesday regarding the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which included extending spring break until Sunday, March 22 and transitioning in-person classes into “alternative delivery formats” until Sunday, April 5. 

“We are continually engaged with our campus leaders and monitoring this evolving situation in conjunction with the NCAA and Conference USA,” WKU Athletics spokesman Zach Greenwell told the Herald.

Greenwell confirmed that all spring athletics events will continue as scheduled, including third-seeded Lady Topper basketball’s game against sixth-seeded Charlotte on Thursday at 2 p.m. and second-seeded Hilltopper basketball’s game against seventh-seeded Alabama-Birmingham on Thursday at 8:30 p.m.

Sports Editor Drake Kizer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Drake on Twitter at @drakekizer_.