College basketball's March Madness will be played in largely empty arenas in an effort to slow the coronavirus pandemic.

NCAA President Mark Emmert says only essential staff and limited family will be allowed to attend the men's and women's tournaments, which begin next week.

Thursday night's NBA game between the Warriors and Nets in San Francisco will also be played without fans, and baseball's Mariners say they will move their games out of Seattle for all of March because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The NCAA's decision threatens to drain the signature school spirit from one of the biggest events on the sports calendar.

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