Mar 16, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; The Buffalo Bulls celebrate after winning the MAC conference tournament championship game against the Bowling Green Falcons at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Becoming one of the first American leagues to take this radical a step in response to the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, the MAC announced Tuesday night that while they will still hold their men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in Cleveland as scheduled, they will take place in nearly empty arenas.

This follows a directive earlier in the day from Ohio governor Mike DeWine, whose office asked that athletic events taking place indoors not go on as scheduled, or take place with only essential personnel.

The MAC’s announcement follows that guideline pretty closely. We’re also a week away from the NCAA Tournament First Four games, set to be held in Dayton, and it’s possible the NCAA reaches a similar conclusion for those contests.

Not all Ohio sports teams are abiding DeWine’s request, though; the Columbus Blue Jackets announced their games will continue as usual.

The ACC, meanwhile, announced that as of now their tournaments are set to be played normally also.

That media and broadcast personnel will be there means that the games will certainly still be watched and covered, but it’s going to be a very different feeling than usual for a conference tournament, even for a smaller league like the MAC. It’s also possible more leagues or sports follow this approach in the coming days or weeks.

Update: The Big West Conference will also play their conference tournaments without fans in attendance “as a precaution for preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.” The men’s tournament will be played this week at the Honda Center in Anaheim, while the women’s tournament will be held at the Walter Pyramid at Long Beach State University.

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a columnist at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer. He is probably talking to a dog in a silly voice at this very moment.