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Austin large gathering ban won’t impact Texas athletics

SB Nation logo SB Nation 3/10/2020 Wescott Eberts
Scott Sutton standing in front of a crowd © Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, the city of Austin announced prohibitions on large gatherings of 2,500 or more people through May 1 in response to concerns about the spread of COVID-19, just days after cancelling South by Southwest for the first time in 34 years.

But what about Texas athletics?

Since the city doesn’t have jurisdiction over state institutions like the university, the large gathering ban doesn’t apply the Longhorns sports.

However, a school spokesperson told KXAN that Texas “is in the process of reviewing our guidelines.”

Texas has four home non-conference baseball games scheduled for this week. The softball team, in contrast, doesn’t play again in Austin until March 25. With the Big 12 Tournaments this week, neither basketball program has an upcoming home game, although the men’s team could host NIT games if the Horns miss the NCAA Tournament. As a projected No. 10 seed by ESPN, the women will play in a regional somewhere else if they make the field.

According to UT professor Lauren Meyers, whose field is integrative biology, this version of coronavirus often spreads from people who weren’t showing symptoms at the time of transmission. With South by Southwest bringing in people from around the world, that type of transmission was a big concern for the city when it cancelled the event.

With Texas sports, those same concerns aren’t as significant, but when cases do start to pop up in Austin, the athletics department may need to make some tough choices.

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