Southland Conference Tournament taking steps to prepare for crowds as coronavirus concerns grow

Southland Conference Tournament taking steps to prepare for crowds as coronavirus concerns grow
(Source: Southland Conference)

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - The Southland Conference announced plans they are following as concerns grown over the coronavirus in Texas.

The conference will have educational flyers posted around the Merrell Center and have told teams it is okay to alter the post-game handshakes and do fist bumps and elbow bumps instead.

The Tournament featuring both SFA squads will be in Katy this Wednesday through Sunday. As of Monday morning there have been 12 cases in the greater Houston area.

The Southland Conference is not alone in their decision to take steps to stop the spread. Last week the UIL and the Alamo Dome in San Antonio announced new cleaning procedures ahead of the state basketball tournaments.

In pro sports, the NHL, NBA, MLB and MLS are closing access to locker rooms and clubhouses to all non-essential personnel. The leagues are still doing interviews with the press but now in setting that keep media members at least 6-8 feet away from the players and coaches.

The Full Southland Conference release:

The 2020 Hercules Tires Southland Conference Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments begin Wednesday at the Leonard E. Merrell Center, and league officials are continuing to monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The health and well-being of the tournament’s participants and guests, including student-athletes, coaches, staff, media, and fans, is of the utmost importance, and the Conference is taking numerous precautions through the week. The Southland staff has also been engaged on this subject with its campus administrators and coaches over the past couple of weeks.

The Southland is following directives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Texas Department of State Health Services, and has also consulted with the City of Katy Office of Emergency Management to ensure awareness and necessary notifications on the virus. Further, the league is adhering to the recommendations of the newly-formed NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel, focusing primarily on the CDC’s standard precautions. To date, the NCAA panel has not recommended cancelling athletic events, and instead is advocating a risk mitigation approach. Educational material, stressing the importance of stopping the spread of germs and respiratory diseases such as COVID-19, will be posted throughout the Merrell Center.

The Southland Conference requests that all teams, staff, officials, fans, and volunteers follow the CDC’s standard precautions which include:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Staying home if you are sick.
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue and immediately disposing of the tissue in the trash.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the restroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Additionally, while the Southland always urges that sportsmanship remain a priority at all competitions, teams will be allowed to use their own discretion as it relates to traditional pre- and post-game handshakes, perhaps choosing fist bumps or forearm bumps instead.

The Conference will continue to monitor developments and also take any necessary action for upcoming championship events through the spring season.

COVID-19 Informational Links:

Texas Department of State Health Services

Katy ISD

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