Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday that he is recommending that indoor athletic events take place without spectators for the time being.
DeWine added that outdoor sporting events could continue as scheduled.
"For indoor events, we are asking for no events with spectators other than the athletes, parents, and others essential to the game. Right now, outdoor events can continue," DeWine tweeted Tuesday.
The announcement has already had an immediate impact on major high school and college events in the state.
DeWine's request comes as Ohio prepares to host NCAA tournament games next week.
The University of Dayton is scheduled to host the "First Four" NCAA Tournament play-in games on March 17 and 18. Cleveland is scheduled to host first- and second-round NCAA tournament games on March 20 and 22.
The NCAA has not responded to a request for comment.
The Mid-American Conference, which includes Miami University, announced that its men's and women's basketball tournaments will be limited to family, team representatives and media.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association is also holding state basketball championship games in Columbus this weekend.
OHSAA said in a statement that its boys basketball region tournament games scheduled for Tuesday will proceed with fans, but starting on Wednesday, events will only be held for immediate family and select others. The state is preparing for finals in basketball, hockey and wrestling in the coming weeks.
“This will be a very difficult time for our schools and fans, but we cannot ignore the directive of the Governor,” OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass said. “We are pleased that our tournaments can continue and we will soon determine who can attend. However, we can already say that it will most likely be no more than the immediate family of the student-athletes participating in the event.”
The University of Cincinnati announced it has canceled its April 10 spring football game and fish fry and will limit outdoor events to crowds of 150 spectators or less until May 1. The men's basketball team plans to travel to Fort Worth, Texas, for the American Athletic Conference tournament as scheduled.
DeWine's announcement also would affect the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, who will play at home next on March 24. The Columbus Blue Jackets are scheduled to host home games on March 12, 14 and 19.
The Columbus Blue Jackets said on Tuesday that upcoming home games will be played in front of spectators.
It's unclear how long DeWine is requesting sporting events to be played without spectators.