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Texas will not have fans at athletics events through March 22

The decision on Wednesday evening will primarily impact the Longhorns baseball program.

Austin Todd (left) and Duke Ellis on Wednesday
Texas baseball

Due to concerns about the continued spread of coronavirus, the Texas Longhorns announced on Wednesday evening that all athletics events through at least March 22 will be played without fans in attendance.

“We realize COVID-19 (coronavirus) is a major concern to everyone, and in an effort to mitigate any potential risks for our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans, we will be limiting those in attendance at our home sporting events through the next two weekends,” athletics director Chris Del Conte said. “We regret that our fans will not be able to attend our events to support our teams, but this decision was made with the health and well-being of our campus community and fans as the top priority.

“This is an evolving situation, and we remain in constant communication with our University leadership and will continue to reassess the situation. Ultimately, we will take direction from President Fenves and The University while continuing to discuss and evaluate the best way to handle our future events. We will continue to monitor the situation and make additional announcements if other events are impacted.”

Within that window, Texas is scheduled to play four baseball games, including a weekend series against New Mexico and then a midweek game against Incarnate Word next week. Fans can still watch those games on Longhorn Network or listen on 104.9 The Horn.

Columbia already canceled a men’s tennis match in Austin this weekend and the SEC suspended all competition until March 30 ahead of Texas softball traveling to Tuscaloosa to face Alabama.

On Thursday morning, the Big 12 Conference canceled the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments as Texas added a further announcement — that the school is indefinitely postponing all events at the Frank Erwin Center.

“For the health, safety and well-being of all of its patrons, performers and staff, we have decided to postpone upcoming events at the Erwin Center for the near future,” Del Conte said. “After discussion with University officials and leadership at the Erwin Center we believe it’s in the best interest of everyone involved to proceed with an abundance of caution with events at that facility.”

The Longhorns also have decisions to make about spring practice for the football program, which is set to begin on March 24, the Orange-White game schedule for next month, and on-campus recruiting. Multiple schools have now canceled their spring games, pushed back spring practice, and temporarily stopped on-campus recruiting with Bud Elliott of 247Sports calling for the NCAA to impose a recruiting dead period for the next month and a half.