Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS | Get the local news and weather where you live from 5NEWS. Covering Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and all of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

SEC to impose attendance restrictions on all campus events starting on Thursday

Only essential staff and limited family will be allowed at sporting events
arkansas razorbacks football

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The sporting world continues to adjust to the growing concern surrounding COVID-19 and now the SEC is taking a precautionary measure.

The conference issued this statement:

In addition, the SEC announced that all regular season contests in all sports on SEC campuses and SEC Championship events will be conducted with similar attendance restrictions effective Thursday, March 12 through at least March 30 at which time the conference and its member universities will re-evaluate conditions.

The SEC issued a statement from SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey:

"In light of recent developments beyond our control related to the spread of the coronavirus, including a recommendation from the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel, and after consultation with our member universities, we have made the difficult decision to hold the 2020 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament in Nashville without spectators beginning with games of Thursday, March 12. Effective immediately, the policy will also apply to other SEC Championship events and on-campus regular season games scheduled through at least the end of March.

"After conferring with local and national health authorities, we remain confident in our ability to safeguard the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and other staff who will be participating as well as the limited number of family members and media who will be in attendance at the tournament.

"We regret the inconvenience and disappointment this decision has caused our fans, especially those who have already traveled to Nashville for the tournament."

As previously announced, the SEC has implemented the following enhanced health measures for the 2020 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament:

  • Use of hospital grade disinfectant to sanitize locker rooms before teams arrive and immediately upon departure;
  • Sanitization of game balls with hospital grade disinfectant after each practice and game;
  • Sanitization of team benches plus band and cheerleader seating areas following each game;
  • Hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes and Lysol spray in team locker rooms;
  • Hand sanitizers at scorer's table, in officials' locker rooms, operations offices and media areas.

RELATED: UA suspends out of state travel amid coronavirus concerns

RELATED: UCA students quarantined after possible COVID-19 exposure

RELATED: Coronavirus in Arkansas: What you need to know

For the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament, automatic refunds of ticket purchases will be made to fans who are the original purchaser of the tickets from SEC Office or an SEC university, or a verified purchaser on the SEC Ticket Exchange powered by Ticketmaster. For regular season events, each campus will determine refund policies and procedures.

The SEC Network will televise the entire first and second round of the tournament and the quarterfinals evening session. ESPN will broadcast the afternoon session of the quarterfinals, both semifinal matchups and the championship game.

The SEC remains in continued communication with public health officials and reminds everyone to be attentive to everyday preventive actions identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov).

Arkansas issued a statement shortly after from athletics director Hunter Yurachek:

“Without these extraordinary circumstances we would be looking forward to hosting thousands of Razorback fans on our campus in the next few weeks to cheer on our student-athletes” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Hunter Yurachek said. “However, our first priority is the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff as well as the wellbeing of our loyal fans who support them. We will continue to work with the University of Arkansas, the SEC and NCAA in regard to this rapidly changing issue. We appreciate the patience and understanding of all those impacted by these measures.”

Information regarding ticket refunds for Arkansas Razorback home events impacted (Friday, March 13-Monday, March 30, 2020) will be available in the coming days for season ticket holders and fans that have purchased single-game tickets. Refunds for ticketed events beyond March 30 will not be made at this time, pending determination of the status of those events. Fans can contact the Razorback Ticket Center with any questions by calling 479.575.5151 or by emailing raztk@uark.edu.