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MHSA taking precaution as thousands visit Bozeman for state basketball tournament

Posted at 9:14 AM, Mar 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 16:15:33-04

Thousands of people are headed to Bozeman for the 2020 Montana High School Association (MHSA) state basketball tournament, which starts Thursday and goes into Saturday.

Normally, thousands of people coming to the city is great news, but for this event some people are worried.

Close contact is very common in high school sports, especially basketball. Not just for the players but also for the spectators cramming in to watch.

“Our participants and those fans that come to our event are a priority, and we want to make sure that they are safe,” said Mark Beckman, the executive director for MHSA.

This isn’t normally something to be concerned about but with the possibility of a coronavirus outbreak threatening more and more people, it may raise some worry at this time. But Beckman says they are following all guidelines from the state and local health departments.

“The Montana School Board Association guidelines, the office of public construction guidelines, the NCAA guidelines and of course the CDC. We’re really following the CDC guidelines,” Beckman said.

And MHSA is thinking outside the box in any way they can to eliminate personal contact for players.

“Well what we’re going to do with our players and our coaches, we’re going to ask them to go to the recommended fist bump or elbow bump before games and after games. So, that’s one little thing, but we think it’s an important thing, so does the NCAA,” he explained.

The organization is taking no chances when it comes to spectators feeling sick.

“If someone is feeling ill or sick, has the fever or the cough, we’re asking them to stay home but also we have an option for them because all of our games, as they have been for the last 4 years will be broadcasted live on the NFHS Network,” Beckman said.

MHSA says they are relying on services from the facility to make sure everything stays sanitized and as clean as possible.

In previous years, as many as 6,000 people have attended this event.

Again, officials are stressing to everyone who feels sick to stay home and watch the tournament here .