BALTIMORE (WJZ) — In light of Maryland’s recently confirmed cases of coronavirus, Johns Hopkins University said it will be hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA Division III men’s basketball tournament scheduled for this weekend, but without fans.

“We have determined that it is prudent to hold this tournament without spectators,” the University’s athletic website said, citing guidelines about large gatherings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Inside Goldfarb Gym, tip-off for the Yeshiva University vs. WPI match-up began with silence. The 1,100-seat gym was empty except for media and players.

“It is odd. It’s an odd way to play because they’ve been playing in front of sold-out crowds all year,” said Skyline Conference Commissioner Linda Bruno.

“It’s weird to hear the ball bouncing and echoes,” she added.

CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:

New York City-based Yeshiva University had a student test positive for COVID-19 earlier this week, leading a Baltimore County hotel to cancel the team’s rooms Thursday. Eventually, a hotel in the city took them in.

“I get it, but I think it’s an extreme overreaction just based on how the virus spread,” Yeshiva’s athletic director Joe Bednarsh said.

Johns Hopkins also said on its athletic website, that:

“We are not making any determination about other JHU events at this time; while we await further guidance from public health authorities, we will be assessing large events on a case-by-case basis. We regret any inconvenience to the families and fans of the players.”

Individuals who purchased tickets in advance should contact the Johns Hopkins Department of Athletics to receive a refund.

All three games of the tournament will be streamed on HopTv.

Paul Gessler

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