MAAC Changes Course, Will Have Select Attendance at Boardwalk Hall
After confirming there would not be fans at Boardwalk Hall earlier this week, on Friday the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) announced that they are making an exception for the MAAC Men's and Women's Basketball Championships that makes the attendance of games exclusive to the "Family and Friends" of the basketball programs participating in the Conference Tournament.
For the second consecutive March, the MAAC Basketball Conference Championships will be hosted at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall from March 8-13. While the MAAC and Boardwalk Hall will not be selling any tickets local or regional fan attendance, the decision to allow "Friends and Families" in reduced capacity attendance came after the Conference took into consideration Governor Phil Murphy's executive order allowing limited attendance at Sporting Events and allowing parents to return to attendance of Youth Sports practices and games. In a press release sent to the media, MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor made the following statement:
"It is great that the recent (New Jersey Governor) executive order lifting attendance limits in athletic venues will allow us to accommodate a limited number of 'Friend and Families' of the teams, particularly the parents, siblings and children of the student-athletes and the coaching staffs....This is a significant first step in the return to athletic competition in New Jersey and the MAAC membership is pleased to be the first event in Boardwalk Hall since last March when the pandemic abruptly shut down March Madness. - For most MAAC basketball fans we offer the promise that in 2022 the conference expects full normalization of operations at the championships including the Fan Fest and the many schoolchildren related activities that were planned for the Atlantic City community last year."
The changed policy by the MAAC still requires physical distancing and other COVID-19 restrictions for anyone at Boardwalk Hall the week of the tournament. These changes were made in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control, State and Local Health Authorities, along with representatives from Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA). All attendees in any capacity must wear face coverings and physically distance during the event. There will be extensive cleaning, disinfecting and safety measures being executed and is a serious priority for the staff working at the Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall.
Also on Friday, the MAAC announced what networks the Conference Tournament games will be airing for College Basketball fans to watch all the games including the Men's Championship game airing on ESPNU; the winner of the Men's MAAC Conference Championship are automatic qualifiers for the NCAA Tournament which you can hear full coverage on 973 ESPN FM and you can join our Million Dollar Bracket. Here is the full breakdown for the Men's and Women's Tournament games programming schedule: