KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Big 12 Tournament, which begins Wednesday night, could still be played without fans due to the coronavirus, league commissioner Bob Bowlsby told CBS Sports.

While Wednesday night's games are not expected to be impacted, Bowlsby said the conference could make adjustments. The conference is working with University of Kansas Health System as well as state and local officials to assess the risk.

Bowlsby admitted fans might be angered by being shut out at this late date. However, the coronavirus conversation shifted again on Wednesday when the World Health Organization formally declared it a worldwide pandemic.

The director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases called on the NBA to ban fans from its games to mitigate spread of the disease.

The NCAA continues to monitor the situation, but playing its tournament games without fans later this month and early April remains an option.

Oklahoma State, Iowa State, TCU and Kansas State meet here Wednesday night. The Big 12 Tournament continues with four quarterfinal games on Thursday, two semifinal games on Friday and Saturday night's championship game.

The tournament in the 19,000-seat Sprint Center is considered one of the hottest tickets in the country among conference championships.