While they might not play in front of many fans, Michigan State’s spring athletic teams were planning to continue competing in regular-season and postseason competition as scheduled.
The Big Ten later Wednesday said no, deciding to limit fan access to all spring sporting events throughout the enitre conference.
The Big Ten men's basketball tournament will be played without fans, starting Thursday, after the conference allowed fans for the first two games in Indianapolis on Wednesday night. The Spartans are scheduled to play at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.
“Understanding that we are dealing with a fluid situation, as it currently stands, Michigan State’s athletic teams are preparing for postseason and regular-season competition as scheduled,” a statement from MSU read Wednesday, before the Big Ten made its announcements. “Daily team activities and practices will continue as we monitor the situation. Decisions for team travel are determined on a case-by-case basis, although there are no changes to announce at this point.
“The athletic department is taking direction from the university, which has constant contact with the Ingham County Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
MSU's statement came roughly an hour after the Big Ten said it planned to conduct its men’s basketball tournament as scheduled, only changing its postgame media procedures by moving interviews out of locker rooms and into larger spaces. The Big Ten later changed its mind.
Minutes after Michigan State’s statement was released, NCAA president Mark Emmert announced that the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments would be played with only essential staff and limited family attendance.
“I feel bad for anybody that is gotten the virus and I feel bad for the people that are trying to figure this out,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said on Tuesday. “But I don't I don't know where it's heading. It seems like it's getting to a drastic state right now if they're canceling some of these things and I'll just act accordingly.
“I’m just gonna wait and see what the people say and do whatever they say. If they say we play in empty arenas, we play in empty arenas. If they say we play in full arenas, we play in full arenas."