2021 Summit League basketball tournaments to be held without fans

Fans crowd the stands at a 2017 Summit League Tournament basketball game.
Fans crowd the stands at a 2017 Summit League Tournament basketball game.(KSFY)
Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 10:49 AM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - There will be no fans in the stands at this year’s Summit League basketball tournaments due to the pandemic.

Summit League officials announced Thursday that the 2021 Men’s and Women’s Summit League basketball tournaments will be held without fans. In addition, games will be moved from the Denny Sanford Premier Center to the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls.

Commissioner Tom Douple says games will still be played during the originally scheduled dates of March 6-9.

“I never imagined that the League would be making an announcement like this one,” Douple said in a press release. “It is with deep disappointment, yet an equally deep amount of conviction that we came to this conclusion because the health, safety, and welfare of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans, and the Sioux Falls community remain our highest priorities.”

Douple said the move from the Premier Center to the smaller, basketball-centric Sanford Pentagon was made to ensure all tournament operations, including practices, could be performed under one roof. The Pentagon has already hosted several collegiate basketball tournaments under tighter restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

This will be the 13th consecutive year the Summit League Basketball Tournaments will be held in Sioux Falls. The first six of those were at the Sioux Falls Arena and the last six were held at the Premier Center, where officials say the games will return next season.

Douple said Summit League teams have already been following testing protocols and safety measures to make the regular season possible. These processes will continue into postseason play.

Ticket holders will receive information via email from the Denny Sanford Premier Center on Monday, Jan. 18 about their options going forward. As in years past, all 14 games will still be carried live across MidcoSN and ESPN linear and digital platforms.

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