General Spectators Not Allowed to Attend Boys State Basketball Tournament

From the Omaha World Herald

LINCOLN — The Nebraska high school boys basketball tournament will go on this week, but without the general public allowed to attend.

The Nebraska School Activities Association accepted the Lincoln and Lancaster County Health Department’s recommendation Wednesday to restrict access.

Only immediate family members of the players and coaches on official rosters will be allowed admittance to the six-class tournament for 48 schools at four sites on Thursday.

“We do realize that this is the best thing to do,” NSAA Executive Director Jay Bellar said during a news conference with city and county officials.

Patricia Lopez, interim health director for the city health department, said she recognized the importance of the state tournament.

“The reality to not include as many spectators and to limit spectators to immediate family only is to ensure and try to protect public health from the spread of the coronavirus across the state,” she said. “Obviously, the importance for school districts to be able to retain and maintain a sense of normalcy around operations is being challenged on a constant basis.

“Cancelling a large event like this is about public health, it’s about ensuring that we don’t create an environment that actually makes it worse for the state of Nebraska. And so worse for vulnerable populations across the state. And I believe this is absolutely the right call, the right approach to take.”

The decision comes in light of a Crofton student testing positive for the conoravirus disease after attending the girls state basketball tournament in Lincoln on March 5.