Florida Gators, SEC sporting events to be held without fans through March 30

By Adam Silverstein
March 11, 2020
Florida Gators, SEC sporting events to be held without fans through March 30
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Image Credit: GatorTurfStaff / Twitter

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the United States, sports leagues, conferences and teams are taking swift action. With the NBA suspending its 2019-20 season and the 2020 NCAA Tournament announcing Wednesday that fans will not be permitted to attend the entirety of its event, the Southeastern Conference has made a move of its own.

The SEC announced Wednesday night that “regular-season contests in all sports on SEC campuses and SEC championship events” will be conducted without fans through at least March 30. The only people permitted to be in attendance as such events are “essential staff, limited family and credentialed media.” The Florida Gators followed soon after by standing behind the SEC’s decision.

Furthermore, Florida announced that all spring football practices will be closed to fans. The Gators had previously intended to open six practices — three to the public and three others to various groups.

A Florida spokesman confirmed that no decision has been made regarding the 2020 Orange & Blue Debut. The Gators’ spring game is currently scheduled for Saturday, April 18.

“After conferring with local and national health authorities, we remain confident in our ability to safeguard the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and other staff who will be participating as well as the limited number of family members and media who will be in attendance at the tournament,” explained SEC commissioner Greg Sankey in a statement. “We regret the inconvenience and disappointment this decision has caused our fans, especially those who have already traveled to Nashville for the tournament.”

Florida will face Georgia at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday in the Gators’ first game of the 2020 SEC Tournament. The game will be played in front of an empty arena in Nashville, Tennessee.

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