UIL, Alamodome release statements on Coronavirus as Boys Basketball State Tournament set to begin Thursday
HOUSTON - In less than 24 hours, teams, coaches, cheer squads and fans will descend on the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas for the start of the 2020 UIL Boys Basketball State Tournament.
Last week, the University Interscholastic League hosted its annual girls basketball state tournament in the same venue, with the Class 6A State Championship game between Cypress Creek and Duncanville drawing a crowd of 3,823.
With the number of Coronavirus cases surpassing 1,000 in the United States overnight - 13 confirmed in Texas according to a Johns Hopkins map - and the global number surpassing 120,000, sports events are beginning to be affected, including the Ivy League men's and women's basketball tournaments being cancelled earlier this week.
At this time, the show will go on as planned for the UIL Boys Basketball State Tournament, starting with the Class 1A State Semifinal between La Rue La Poyner and Nazareth on Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m.
The UIL released the following statement to VYPE Media on Wednesday morning.
"As concerns grow related to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the UIL has been in regular communication with TEA and other governmental agencies who are closely monitoring the impact of the virus. We are continuing to follow the recommendations of local authorities and, at this time, have not been advised to cancel or postpone the UIL basketball tournament in San Antonio. We are also working with the San Antonio Alamodome to ensure appropriate preventative measures are being taken. The facility has put several safeguards in place including anti-bacterial sanitizing stations and enhanced cleaning initiatives before and during the tournaments. We will continue to keep participating schools updated on any developments."
Compared to the girls basketball tournament, the boys will draw a larger crowd.
For the 2019 Class 6A State Championship game between Duncanville and Klein Forest, the official attendance was listed at 11,153 and the Class 5A State Championship game drew 10,649 fans.
With this number of fans expected again for this upcoming weekend, the Alamodome is prepared for the crowds.
"The Alamodome, in cooperation with the Bexar County Office of Emergency Management, continues to make the safety of our guests our utmost priority," Alamodome General Manager Steve Zito said. "Our facility has put several safeguards in place including anti-bacterial sanitizing stations and enhanced cleaning initiatives. We will remain vigilant regarding all COVID-19 developments. We again look forward to hosting the UIL State Basketball Tournaments and wish all of the teams safe travels and the best of luck."
Currently 24 teams - more than 350 players - are scheduled to travel to San Antonio for the Class 1A-6A State Semifinals. Of those, 12 will move on to play for state championships on Saturday with games slated for all day.
"The health and safety of our student-athletes and patrons remains our top priority," UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt said. "The UIL will continue to work with the Alamodome and other governmental entities, including health officials, on the measures being taken to keep all tournament attendees safe and will provide updates as this situation evolves."