UW-Madison says WIAA Boys’ State Basketball Tournament won’t be at Kohl Center amid COVID-19 concerns

MADISON, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin-Madison said the WIAA Boys State Basketball Tournament will not be hosted at the Kohl Center amidst growing concerns of the spread of COVID-19, according to U-W Police Department Director of Communications Marc Lovicott.

“The decision was made in consultation with local and state public health officials to discourage and limit large gatherings in light of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation. Many other sporting events and tournaments across the country have also canceled their events, including the Big Ten and NCAA tournament,” Lovicott wrote in a release.

On Wednesday, the WIAA had made the decision to play the games in front of limited crowds. The WIAA has not released a statement at this time regarding the status of the tournament.

According to Destination Madison, a group that works to bring and keep events like the tournament in Madison, attendance for the three-day tournament was more than 80,000 people in 2017. CEO Deb Archer said a broad spectrum of businesses, including restaurants, bars and hotels, will likely be impacted this year.

“It will be very disappointing, and not just for business, and not just our community, but certainly for those schools and those athletes who have worked so hard,” Archer said. “It’s got lots of unfortunate results, but again, this understandable piece about why these decisions are made.”

This story will be updated.