Boys State Basketball tournament will go on -- without fans

By  | 

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -- Based on the recommendations made by the Mayor’s Office of the City of Lincoln, Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department and the Nebraska Department of Education, the 2020 NSAA Boys State Basketball Championships will proceed as scheduled, but fan attendance will be limited. This is a precautionary measure to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The tournament begins Thursday and venues and game times remain the same.

Attendance will be limited to the varsity players, coaches, team support personnel (athletic trainers and student managers) and school administrators of the qualifying schools and their immediate families.

Immediate family includes parents, stepparents, guardians, siblings, other members living in the athlete’s household, and grandparents. School administrators will be required to provide a list of those persons meeting the qualifications for entry. School administrators will be at the entrance of each venue to identify and grant entry to those persons on the list. Those entering the venue will be required to purchase a ticket or may use previously purchased tickets or passes. Pre-purchased online tickets will not be honored.

"We regret that non-varsity boys’ basketball participants, cheerleaders, dance teams, school mascots and pep bands may not attend the games," NSAA Executive Jay Bellar said. "In addition, the US Bank Believers and Achievers award and NSAA Distinguished Service Awards will not be presented at this event but will be rescheduled.

Anyone not on the approved list who previously purchased a ticket will not be allowed entry. Passes will not be honored including NCA Gold Card, NSAA Courtesy Passes and Lifetime passes. This measure is to protect the health and safety of the student athletes, their families and the public at large.

Members of the media with NSAA issued credentials will be allowed entry at all venues. The NSAA is working with local media outlets to video stream and/or televise the games. More information will be posted on the NSAA website as it becomes available.

"This is an unprecedented event, the NSAA Board of Directors and staff understand the hardship this has created for our membership," Bellar said. "But we felt that our student-athletes should have the opportunity to compete while also complying with the recommendations of our local health and government officials. We look forward to providing the best possible experience for our member schools, student-athletes and their families."

There have been five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nebraska, and one of those students was a 16-year-old boy who attended Girls State Basketball last week. According to Nebraska Medicine, his condition is serious.

The student, who has underlying medical conditions, was transferred to the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit.

He boy attended two games on Thursday, March 5: the 9 a.m. Hartington/Weeping Water game at Lincoln Southwest High School, 7001 S. 14th, and the 7 p.m. Crofton/BRLD game at North Star High School, 5801 N. 33rd Street.

The student arrived in Lincoln on March 4 and stayed with relatives. The student is reported to have gone onto the basketball court after the 9 a.m. game to hug family members.

There were no classes at Southwest and North Star on March 5. Final exams were conducted at both schools on Friday, March 6.

The relatives who live in Lincoln are in self-quarantine.

Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird said there are still no known cases in Lincoln.

Read the original version of this article at