By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — This year’s men’s and women’s NCAA Tournament will be played without fans due to the COVID-19 outbreak across the country, NCAA President Mark Emmert announced Wednesday. Only players, essential staff, coaches and family members will be able to attend the games.

“I have made the decision to conduct our upcoming championship events, including the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, with only essential staff and limited family attendance,” Emmert in a statement. “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.”

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The men’s tournament begins next Tuesday with a First Four game in Dayton, Ohio, before the madness kicks off in full next Thursday.

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Locally, CBS Sports projects Villanova, Penn State and Rutgers University to all make the field of 68.

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Watch the NCAA Tournament selection show and bracket reveal Sunday at 6 p.m. on CBS3.