All University of Missouri athletic events in Columbia and at campuses across the Southeastern Conference will be held without fans in attendance through at least March 30, the league announced Wednesday night.


The SEC plans to conduct its men’s basketball tournament with only essential staff, limited family and credentialed media in attendance at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville for the remainder of the week beginning Thursday. The decision follows the recommendation of the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel.


The move was made "in light of recent developments beyond our control related to the spread of the coronavirus," SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said.


The conference announced all regular-season events in all sports on league campuses and all SEC championships will operate under similar attendance restrictions starting Thursday.


The conference and member schools will reevaluate near the end of the month.


MU athletic director Jim Sterk said he supports the SEC and NCAA decision to temporarily limit spectators at events. Sterk said the university will provide additional information about the new policy in advance of upcoming home events.


The basketball schedule at Mizzou Arena is finished for the winter season. The Missouri softball and baseball teams are scheduled to play at home next week. At least four MU softball home games and four baseball home games will now be played without a crowd.


"We are dealing with a rapidly changing and very fluid situation, and the safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff is paramount," Sterk said. "At this time, Mizzou’s athletic teams are continuing to prepare for postseason and regular-season completion as scheduled. Daily team activities and practices will continue until further notice, and we continue to monitor developments.


"Decisions for team travel will be made on a case-by-case basis, but there are no changes to announce at this time. The athletics department takes direction from the university, which is in constant communication with the Boone County Health Department, state and national officials."


The NCAA announced earlier Wednesday its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be held as scheduled at all venues next week, but without fans present.