INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Thursday marks one year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. March 11, 2020 started the ripple effect of the cancelation of major events, including the NBA’s decision to suspend its season.
That same day, the Big Ten Conference said no more fans at games and eventually the entire NCAA tournament was canceled.
For Indiana Sports Corp President Ryan Vaughn, the day brings a mix of emotions. Vaughn said he is happy there are fans and players inside venues right now, but the limited number is a reflection of how much the country lost last year.
“I was in Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the Big Ten Men’s Tournament. We were literally waiting for the doors to open, we were holding fans outside while the decision was being contemplated, whether or not to play the game or to cancel the tournament,” Vaughn said.
Over the next several months, the city’s sports venues transformed into food distribution centers and later a mass vaccination site.
Now one year later, the Big Ten Tournament is back and Indianapolis is preparing to host all March Madness.
Fans will be there to see games and even if attendance is limited, Vaughn said it feels like we made it.
“The Big Ten games just in the first session today, Michigan State fans were there and I just happened to be working on my computer and all of a sudden there was a big play and I heard a roar and it caught me off guard a little bit, it made me happy,” said Vaughn.