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UPDATE: Big Ten releases statement on conference tournament plans amid coronavirus concerns

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The Big Ten is backing down from the earlier statement.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Purdue vs Maryland Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: The Big Ten has released a new statement announcing that no fans will be permitted at the conference tournament starting Thursday.

The Big Ten Conference announced this evening that beginning Thursday, March 12, 2020, attendance at all Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament games will be limited to student-athletes, coaches, event staff, essential team and Conference staff, TV network partners, credentialed media, and immediate family members of the participating teams.

Additionally, all further Big Ten Conference winter and spring sport competitions, including championship/tournament events, will also be limited to student-athletes, coaches, event staff, essential team and Conference staff, TV network partners, credentialed media, and immediate family members of the participating teams.

The main priority of the Big Ten Conference is to ensure the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all relevant information on the COVID-19 virus on a daily basis.

It is important that any person attending a Big Ten sporting event consult the following guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html.

Original story follows...

The Big Ten Conference released a statement on Wednesday prior to the kickoff of the conference tournament in Indianapolis this week to address the COVID-19 (coronavirus) effects on the scheduled event. As of now, everything is set to go on as planned with teams and spectator access still in place. The only change is to the media protocols by which the beat writers will follow.

Here is the full statement from the Big Ten:

The Big Ten Conference’s main priority is to ensure the safety of our students, coaches, administrators, event staff, fans and media as we continue to monitor all relevant information on the COVID-19 virus.

At this time the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament will continue to be held as scheduled. Postgame media availabilities will continue to take place at the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, however they will be held in larger designated areas of Bankers Life Fieldhouse in lieu of team locker rooms.

We will continue to consult with Pacers Sports & Entertainment, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the Marion County Public Health Department and the NCAA leading up to and during the event to implement best practices and provide the most current information.

Games kick off on Wednesday evening with Northwestern and Minnesota set to tip off at 6 p.m. ET and Nebraska and Indiana set for 25 minutes after the first game concludes. The Michigan Wolverines open Big Ten Tournament play on Thursday at noon against Rutgers.