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Opinion: No fans at NCAA tourney? This is madness!

Washington's Noah Dickerson (15) reacts after getting possession of the ball against Utah State in the first half during a first round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Columbus, Ohio, Friday, March 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom. 

The NCAA tournament — you know, March Madness, with no fans?!

I can’t picture it. Can you?

I can hear the sneakers so loud on the court, it’s deafening.

NCAA March Madness surprise

I was getting ready for bed tonight (I go to bed early. It’s that 2:30 wakeup call) when my husband called into the bathroom, “The NCAA just announced no fans at March Madness.”

I came out with my toothbrush in my mouth.

“Whuuuchuauuusay?!”

He read, “NCAA president Mark Emmert has announced all Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournament games will be played in arenas without fans. . . Only ‘essential staff and limited family’ will be allowed to attend.'”

I went back to the bathroom. Spit and rinse. How can this be? No crazy fans? No student section? No alumni? No band? No cheerleaders? No fans storming the court?

Fans not allowed at March Madness as coronavirus spreads, NCAA says

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – MARCH 21: Fans watch play as Tyus Battle #25 of the Syracuse Orange controls the ball against the Baylor Bears during the second half in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 21, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Pause.

The right call

It’s the right thing, of course, my poor disappointed basketball fan’s heart had to admit. Wow – that took way too long to get to. I can’t imagine how hard that was for the NCAA to decide.

Imagine how painful this will be for the players to not have their cheering fans giving them strength and energy. How will it effect the game to not have noise and crowd reaction? We can only imagine at this point. And who are “essential family?” If I’m dating somebody’s half-brother, does that get me in?

I’m not sure I’m going to be able to fall asleep now. All I can think about are the lonely mascots, performing stunts before empty stands. The empty concession counters with no Dr. Pepper being served. That ear-piercing silence huge arenas surround you with when there is nobody inside them.

Except the players. Those beautiful, talented players. All right, refs. Blow your whistles.

Amanda Dickson is the co-host of Utah’s Morning News and the host of A Woman’s View on KSL NewsRadio. 

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