The Southland Conference announced Wednesday evening it will limit attendance to its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments beginning Thursday morning due to precautions related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The Southland Conference announced Wednesday evening it will limit attendance to its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments beginning Thursday morning, March 12, due to precautions related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The tournaments are being held at the Merrell Center.
Beginning with Thursday’s women’s first round and men’s second round games, arena entry will be restricted to participating teams, game officials, tournament staff, spirit groups (at each institution’s discretion), credentialed media, other support personnel, and family members included on the team’s official pass list. There will be no entry allowed for ticket holders and no opportunity to purchase tickets at the Merrell Center.
In the near future, the Southland and its member institutions will provide a refund policy to fans who have purchased tickets.
The Katy Kids Dribble scheduled for Saturday morning at the Merrell Center will also be canceled.
“While this announcement creates considerable inconvenience for many fans, these measures are being taken with the health and well-being of the tournament’s participants in mind, including student-athletes and coaches,” Southland commissioner Tom Burnett said in a news release. “This is of the utmost importance as we’re seeing similar issues across the country with other sporting events, including the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball championships in the coming weeks. The Southland will continue to monitor and to take necessary precautions through the weeks ahead as other competition and championship events are scheduled.”
Earlier Wednesday, the NCAA announced it will conduct its upcoming men's and women's basketball tournaments with only essential staff and limited family attendance. The Big 12 and Big Ten also announced its will not allow fans into conference tournaments.
The NBA suspended its season on Wednesday and will use the hiatus to determine its next move.
All games of the Southland Tournament are being televised as scheduled, with all preliminary contests being shown live on ESPN+. Saturday’s men’s championship game will be shown live on ESPN2 at 8:30 p.m., while Sunday’s women’s title game will be shown live on CBS Sports Network at 1 p.m.
Two Katy natives are competing in the tournaments. On the men's side, freshman guard Gabe Matturro is on the roster for Stephen F. Austin. On the women's side, former Taylor High standout Macy Ray is a sophomore starting guard for Incarnate Word.