Gov. Mike DeWine recommended Tuesday that indoor athletic events in Ohio, including the First Four games in Dayton, occur without spectators.
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DeWine said it is not only the safety of the spectators but for anyone the spectators might come in contact with afterwards.
“We would hope that anyone who has the responsibility for conducting these events will make the right decision,” DeWine said.
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The First Four is scheduled for March 17-18 at UD Arena.
On Tuesday night, OHSAA announced that all previously purchased tickets for the upcoming state wrestling, ice hockey and girls and boys basketball are now void. Tickets purchased online will be refunded to the same credit card; tickets purchased through check will be refunded in about four to five weeks; those who bought tickets with cash will need to return the tickets in person to the Ohio State University ticket office for a refund.
“We are following the governor’s instructions and are doing this for the safety of Ohioans,” said Jerry Snodgrass, OHSAA Executive Director. “This is a very difficult time and we need our schools and fans to know that we have been told we must do this. We must pull together to do the best we can to conduct these tournaments so that the student-athletes can still finish their seasons, which have gotten them to the pinnacle of their sport.”
Boys basketball regional games are scheduled this week across the state and the girls basketball state semifinals and finals are set for Thursday-Saturday at St. John Arena in Columbus. The state wrestling finals are scheduled to take place Friday through Sunday at Value City Arena in Columbus. The state hockey finals also are slated for this weekend at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.
While Tuesday games in the boys basketball regional tournament proceeded with fans, the OHSAA announced the following restrictions, per sport beginning Wednesday:
Regional boys basketball: Student-athletes on the school tournament roster (players and cheerleaders) can designate four family members to purchase a ticket for the game. Coaches for the team can each designate two family members to purchase tickets. School administrators and the bus driver each receive one free ticket for themselves and a guest.
State girls basketball: Student-athletes on the 16 state qualifying teams will each be permitted to designate four family members who will be permitted to purchase single-game tickets at St. John Arena. Coaches and administrators of state tournament teams will each be allowed to designate two family members to purchase tickets for single-game tickets.
State wrestling: State qualifying student-athletes will each be permitted to designate four family members who will be permitted to purchase all-session ticket books. State tournament coaches will each be allowed to designate two family members to purchase tickets, only sold as all-session ticket books.
State ice hockey: Student-athletes on the four state qualifying teams will each be permitted to designate four family members who will be permitted to purchase single-game tickets at Nationwide Arena. State tournament coaches and school administrators will each be permitted to designate two family members to purchase tickets, only sold as single-game tickets.
The Mid-American Conference announced Tuesday evening its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments would played with no fans at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland.
Only credentialed institutional personnel, student-athlete family members, credentialed media, television and radio crews, and official team party members will be permitted for attendance for the tournaments. The MAC tournaments will be closed to the general public.
“The safety of all is our greatest concern. Since January, I have stated that any decision would follow the advice of state governmental officials and medical professionals. Following the feedback we received today we have taken this action which is in alignment with the recommendation of Gov. DeWine,” said Mid-American Conference Commissioner, Dr. Jon Steinbrecher, in a release.
The Miami RedHawks men’s team is scheduled to the play in the quarterfinals on Thursday afternoon.