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Ohio Governor warns against ‘events with spectators’ in home of First Four

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has warned against large groups gathering in his state. Both Dayton and Cleveland are scheduled to host the NCAA Tournament next week.

Republican Gubernatorial-elect Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine gives his victory speech after winning the Ohio gubernatorial race at the Ohio Republican Party’s election night party at the Sheraton Capitol Square on November 6, 2018 in Columbus, Ohio. DeWine defeated Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Richard Cordray to win the Ohio governorship. Photo by Justin Merriman/Getty Images

As part of a series of warnings regarding state business such as K-12 education and prison policy, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today asked that indoor athletics events in the state take place without spectators due to concerns over Covid-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

The NCAA Tournament’s First Four is scheduled to take place next Tuesday and Wednesday March 17th and 18th at Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio. Also one of the eight first and second round sites is scheduled for Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland on Friday March 20th and 22nd.

Earlier today prior to DeWine’s statement, the NCAA announced they were continuing forward with the Tournament as planned. However, following DeWine’s statement, they issued a statement that offered a slight hedge.

We’ll see what happens, but for now the policy of the NCAA and that of the chief executive of the state scheduled to host 10 of the 67 games of the biggest event in college sports seem to be in diametrical opposition.

Also to be noted, the Mid American Conference tournament is supposed to take place in Cleveland in the same Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on March 12 & 14. The MAC announced plans for the tournament to be played with no fans, and only institutional personnel, player family members, credentialed media, and official team party members.