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Big West announcement: No spectators allowed at this week’s games

The Big West Conference announced on Tuesday that fans, spectators and other non-essential personnel will not be allowed into the arenas to watch this week’s Big West Conference Championship Tournament.

The historic move was announced as “a precaution for preventing the spread of COVID-19 virus.”

The women’s bracket features games on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif., then games on Friday and Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The men’s bracket features games on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The University of Hawai’i men’s and women’s basketball teams are participating in the tournament, and several fans are already in Southern California.

According to the Big West announcement: “Those who have purchased tickets for the event may receive a full refund from their respective points of purchase.”

Here are statements released by the University of Hawai’i:

David Matlin, UH Athletics Director:

“I’m sure it was a difficult decision for the Big West Conference, as it was for both the Ivy League and MAC, which have also taken measures with COVID-19.  I particularly feel for our dedicated fans who have sacrificed their time and resources to make their way to Anaheim to support our men’s and women’s basketball programs. Regardless, this will not hinder our teams from representing the state of Hawai‘i with a championship mindset.”

Laura Beeman, UH Women’s Basketball Head Coach:

“All season long our players have played for the person to their left and to their right. With the announcement from the BWC regarding canceling fan participation for the tournament this mantra will resonate louder than ever. The health and welfare of everyone is always our first concern. Whether there are fans in the seats or not, we will not be alone. Aloha cannot be stopped.”

Eran Ganot, UH Men’s Basketball Head Coach:

“Obviously, it’s disappointing that we won’t be able to play in front of our tremendous fans, our band, cheerleaders and dancers who always travel so well in support of us. Right now, we are only concerned with what we can control. Despite the unique situation, our focus will continue to be on preparing for the tournament and putting forward the best performance we can.”

Here is the full announcement from www.bigwest.org

The Big West Conference today announced that this week’s men’s and women’s basketball tournament will be played without spectators as a precaution for preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The tournament begins with women’s early round games tonight and Wednesday at the Walter Pyramid on the campus of Long Beach State University.  

The men’s quarterfinal games will be played Thursday at Honda Center followed by the men’s and women’s semifinals on Friday.  Both championship games will be played at Honda Center on Saturday, March 14.  Fans will not be allowed into either venue.

“The Big West Board of Directors, comprised of the chief executive officers of the nine member universities, strongly feel that this is a prudent way to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus while being sensitive to our student-athletes who have pointed towards playing in the tournament all season,” said Big West Commissioner Dennis Farrell. “Many of our institutions are developing plans to minimize the interaction of individuals on their campuses that could include the downsizing of events.

“I want to thank the management teams of the Walter Pyramid and Honda Center for their understanding and assistance as the Big West worked through this extremely difficult decision.”

“I’m sorry for the inconvenience this will cause our fans, but I do want to stress that all games will be televised on the ESPN family of networks,” said Farrell.  

Those who have purchased tickets for the event may receive a full refund from their respective points of purchase.

Members of the NCAA Division I Big West Conference are Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton, CSUN, Long Beach State, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, and Hawai’i.


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