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Fordham University willing to host state Federation high school basketball tourney without fans

Fordham University said it will host the state Federation high school basketball tournament scheduled to be played there later this month but would not allow spectators to attend amid concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

The state Federation tournament, in existence since 1978, is scheduled to be played at the Bronx school from March 27-29. The tournament features the state champion teams from public and private schools for both boys and girls basketball.

“They are welcome to play, and we are waiting to hear whether they will do so,” university spokesman Bob Howe said. “They are subject to the same conditions as all University athletic events: only players and coaches may be present in the venue.”

Don Buckley, president of the New York State federation, said no decisions have been made. “We’re monitoring the situation,” said Buckley, a former athletic director at St. Anthony's. Fordham announced Monday it will continue playing its home athletic events but will not allow spectators to attend.

“We made the decision to reduce potential pathways for community spread of COVID-19 on campus,” Howe said. “Our actions are also consistent with Governor Cuomo’s declaration of a state of emergency in New York on Saturday, March 7, and the updated coronavirus guidelines issued by the CDC on Friday, March 6.”

The boys and girls teams come out of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA), the city's Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL), the Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) and the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS). So far, the independent Long Island Lutheran is the only LI team that has qualified for the Federation tournament.

This year's tournament would have marked the first year the 23-team event would have been played in New York City after long being upstate, most recently in Glens Falls.

The tournament’s website lauds how “thousands of parents, students, and basketball enthusiasts will come together at Fordham University to celebrate their passion for high school hoops.”

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