Threat of coronavirus causes Atlantic 10 to suspend handshakes in its conference tournament

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In an effort to reduce the potential spread of coronavirus, the Atlantic 10 Conference won't allow handshakes between players before or after games in its upcoming men's or women's conference tournaments. The league announced Tuesday "the pre and post-game protocol of student-athlete handshakes have been suspended," substituting 'forearm bumps' instead of shaking hands.

"The league is in communication with its member institutions, medical personnel, competition venues and media partners," a statement from the conference said. "The A-10 will continue to update its members throughout championship season and reminds student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans to be diligent in following the recommended health and safety precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus."

Additionally, the league intends to provide sanitizing gel to appropriate back-of-house parties.

The A-10's response to the coronavirus goes further than a similar response to that of the NBA, which this week provided measures that includes recommendations to first-bump instead of high-five and to avoid autographing for fans to limit potential exposures.

The NCAA on Tuesday formed an advisory panel in response to the coronavirus threat but has not formally issued any recommendations. No events have been canceled as the NCAA Tournament approaches, though it says it is monitoring the situation daily and will make decisions accordingly.

"We are actively monitoring COVID-19 in the United States and will make recommendations on competition based on the evolving medical protocols established by the CDC, NIH and state and local authorities," said NCAA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Hainline.

The NCAA Tournament will begin with the First Four on March 17 in Dayton, Ohio, and concludes with the NCAA championship game on April 6 in Atlanta.

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