Championship weekend to be played in near empty arenas as coronavirus epidemic begins to affect high school athletics

The MPSSAA announced Wednesday evening its state boys and girls basketball championship tournaments will be take place in a “closed gym” format as cases of the coronavirus or COVID-19 has started to increase in Maryland.

Towson University and University of Maryland will host the girls and boys Final Four, respectively, as planned starting Thursday afternoon, but only participating teams, game officials, players’ parents and or legal guardians, school officials/administrators, athletic training staff and essential tournament staff will be allowed.

Tickets purchased online will be refunded. As of Wednesday evening, the MPSSAA was working to set up an online platform for fans to watch the state semifinals and championship games.

The MPSSAA said pregame and postgame handshakes may be replaced with fist bumps, forearm bumps, elbow bumps, or coaches may collectively agree upon a form of acknowledgement of both schools.

Anne Arundel County announced Wednesday that spectators will not be allowed at spring athletic contests. Contests that take place in Anne Arundel high school stadiums will be live-streamed through the National Federation of High Schools Network (NFHS Network).