The speculation is over.
Midway through the DePaul-Xavier Big East Tournament opening round game, the conference announced that it will be closing its doors to fans for the remainder of the tournament.
Starting on Thursday, the tournament will adopt a restricted attendance policy.
Only student-athletes, coaches, event staff, essential team and conference staff, TV personnel, credentialed media and immediate family members of the participating teams. Schools will be limited to 200 tickets per institution.
The decision follows the lead of a number of different announcements made on Wednesday, with various conferences also limiting its audiences for their postseason basketball tournaments, such as the Pac-12, American, and a few others, as well as the NCAA’s executive decision to limit the audience for the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournaments.
“We have made this decision due to the rapid progression of COVID-19 and escalating developments nationally, as well as through guidance we have received from medical experts, local authorities, and other sources,” commissioner Val Ackerman said in a statement. “The support of our fans has made the Big East Tournament one of the most exciting events in college basketball, but the health and well-being of our game participants is of paramount importance. We are very grateful to Madison Square Garden for their understanding and cooperation as we jointly manage a very difficult situation.”