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Big 12 conference men's, women's basketball tournaments to be 'limited access'

Teams will have access to 125 tickets each per game and the Big 12 athletic directors have decided that tickets will go to guests of student athletes.

AUSTIN, Texas — Starting Thursday, the Big 12 Conference men's and women's conference championship tournaments will be played with "limited access" amid concerns of the spread of coronavirus. 

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Wednesday – nearly 30 minutes prior to the tip off of the first Big 12 tournament game –  teams will have access to 125 tickets each per game and the athletic directors have decided that tickets will go to guests of student athletes.

Limited access will start on Thursday and not on Wednesday because one of the conference calls 

The first round of the Big 12 men’s tournament was scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. – with Iowa State to tip off against Oklahoma State – Wednesday, March 11, at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. 

The first round of the women's tournament was scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 12 – with Oklahoma State to tip off against Oklahoma – at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City.

According to Bowlsby, the decision was unanimous from the Big 12 Conference Board of Directors. 

The Big 12 issued the following statement to KVUE Wednesday: 

"After careful consideration and consulting with medical officials, other conferences, the NCAA and local officials, the Big 12 Conference announced that after tonight’s men’s first round games, all remaining Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championship games will be played with only family, friends, credentialed media and essential staff permitted in the arenas."

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The announcement came just hours after NCAA President Mark Emmert said the national men's and women's basketball tournaments will be played with "only essential staff and limited family attendance."

"While I understand how disappointing this is for all fans of our sports, my decision is based on the current understanding of how COVID-19 is progressing in the United States," the NCAA president said. "Today, we will move forward and conduct championships consistent with the current information and will continue to monitor and make adjustments as needed." 

The SEC men's basketball tournament was also scheduled for Wednesday, but the SEC said it is evaluating plans for the rest of the tournament, according to KVUE sister station WBIR.

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