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Notre Dame Basketball

ACC Commissioner Provides Update

March 12, 2020

The entire sports world is currently in flux with concerns surrounding the COVID-19 virus and the Atlantic Coast Conference is no exception.

The ACC men’s basketball tournament began as usual on Tuesday in Greensboro, N.C., but by Wednesday, the league announced it would be following the lead of the NCAA and would limit attendance at the event starting with Thursday’s games.

Following the suspension of the NBA season on Wednesday night and other news around the world surrounding the coronavirus, it seemed the remainder of the tournament could be in jeopardy.

On Thursday morning, ACC commissioner John Swofford announced that the tournament would go on, but said they’ll continue staying in touch with health officials and monitoring things moving forward.

During a press conference this morning, Swofford acknowledged the league had been in touch with officials leading up to the tournament and that their advice had evolved over time.

“We try to make the best decisions we can make based on the best information we can get at the time we make those decisions,” said Swofford. “I think we have done that.

“But with a situation as fluid as this one seems to be – now on a daily and sometimes hourly basis – that gets to be more and more challenging.”

Swofford hopes they won’t have to make any further adjustments, but if the circumstances warrant adjustments, they will be made.

“The most important aspect to this is the protection of fans and anybody associated with this particular tournament as well as the greater population,” he said. “Going about that in the most appropriate way has changed and could possibly change again and what the NCAA is doing next week could possibly change.

“This is something that’s much bigger than this tournament, much broader than this locale because it’s worldwide and something we haven’t faced in our lifetime.”

Swofford said he likes to have consensus within the league on decisions like this and there was a consensus on how to move forward.

“There was full consensus that we should play last night,” Swofford said. “It was too close to the doors opening and we would be creating more problems than we would be solving by not playing last night.”

He said the league and its members then turned their attention to Thursday.

“We had a full consensus that we should proceed under a similar basis to what the NCAA had indicated what it would during its tournament,” he added.

The commissioner said the difference between the NCAA moving forward while the NBA has shut down is because an NBA player had tested positive, referring to Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz. During Swofford’s press conference, it was revealed that Gobert’s teammate, Donovan Mitchell, had also tested positive.

“What we have to look at is, ‘Should you make that decision before one of your players contracts the virus?’ I don’t know the answer to that right now.”

Swofford was pressed whether that would be too late.

“Fair question and i don’t know the answer to that,” he said. “It’s probably a really easy answer to have after the fact. We’re in a situation where we don’t get to make decisions after the fact. The medical people are dealing with a lot of unknowns.

“If someone gets it, maybe it was too late. If someone doesn’t, maybe it was the right decision.”

Swofford said the league would move quickly with regard to the status of spring sports.

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