The Latest: Strict fan rules at SEC men’s hoops tourney

The Southeastern Conference wants the few fans able to attend the men’s basketball tournament in Nashville to know the rules.

Health officials are allowing a seating capacity of 20% at Bridgestone Arena for approximately 3,400 fans because of COVID-19 restrictions at the tournament starting March 10.

The SEC said Tuesday that fans over the age of 2 will have to wear masks or face coverings, with gaiters, bandanas and masks with valves or vents prohibited. A face shield also won’t be enough. Anyone seeking a medical exemption to the mask requirement must reach out to the arena at least 24 hours in advance or won’t be allowed inside the arena.

The league also isn’t making tickets available for public purchase because of the reduced seating. Individual SEC teams will have a limited number of tickets for sale for their fans.

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West Virginia’s baseball team has paused activities for the next seven days because it is unable to meet COVID-19 thresholds as established by the Big 12.

The school’s athletic department said Tuesday that a three-game home series Friday through Sunday against Kent State and a March 9 home game against Marshall will not be played.

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Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby will miss Tuesday night’s game against Philadelphia after being placed on the COVID-19 protocol list.

Head coach Mike Sullivan made the announcement Tuesday morning. The Penguins did not hold a morning skate ahead of the game, in line with the league’s COVID-19 guidelines.

The news comes a day after the NHL had a season-low four players in the COVID-19 protocol.

Crosby leads the Penguins with 18 points and is tied for the team lead with seven goals.

Pittsburgh currently sits fifth in the highly competitive East Division, two points behind the Flyers. Philadelphia swept a pair from the Penguins at home to start the season. The cross-state rivals are playing in Pittsburgh on both Tuesday and Thursday.

Tuesday night’s game will be the first game with fans in attendance at PPG Paints Arena since last March. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf eased coronavirus restrictions on Monday, allowing 15% attendance at indoor venues. The Penguins plan to cap attendance at 2,800 fans.

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