Wednesday's announcement by NCAA president Mark Emmert that upcoming championship games -- including the men's and women's basketball tournaments -- would be held without fans because of the United States' COVID-19 outbreak led to a response from Geno Auriemma.
In a statement released through the team's Twitter account, Auriemma addressed the "unprecedented" but "responsible" coronavirus steps being taking by the governing body of college athletics, proceeding through the NCAA Tournament with caution.
"It's unfortunate that these measures have to be taken at this time, but we are experiencing something unprecedented," Auriemma said in the statement. "As much as our fans and players are disappointed, I truly believe they understand that this is the prudent and responsible thing to do.
"My heart goes out to those who are suffering from this virus and to those who have or may lose loved ones.
"Please take all the necessary precautions to minimize your exposure and enjoy the games on ESPN."
Auriemma's comments changed course from three days earlier, when he voiced his skepticism about the inconsistency of the AAC's coronavirus outbreak containment measures.
"You've got to write this, because this is incredible -- the conference has a policy that you can't shake hands. Well, we did anyway," Auriemma said after Sunday's 79-38 AAC Tournament semifinal win over South Florida. "Our men played Houston the other day. They sweated on each other for two hours and then they weren't allowed to shake hands. We shook hands today. I ain't worried about it.
"Our assistant, (director of women's basketball administration) Sarah (Darras), her son is a wrestler. They wrestled for I don't know how long on this dirty mat and then they go, 'No shaking hands.' I mean, come on. There's -- don't get me started."
No. 5 UConn (29-3) punched its ticket to the NCAA tournament with the 34-point championship win over the Bearcats (22-10) two days ago. The Huskies were all but ready to host the first and second rounds next Friday through March 22 at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., before the four regional sites -- Dallas; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Greenville, S.C.; Portland, Ore.; and New Orleans from March 27-28. The Final Four is slated for April 3 and 5 at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, although coronavirus concerns could factor into location changes.