Home SMARTPHONE 2021 NCAA tournament to be held in Indianapolis amid pandemic

2021 NCAA tournament to be held in Indianapolis amid pandemic

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2021 NCAA tournament to be held in Indianapolis amid pandemic

The NCAA will hold the entire 2021 NCAA men’s basketball championship in the state of Indiana, with the majority of the tournament’s 67 games taking place in Indianapolis. 

Selection Sunday is still scheduled for March 14, and plans remain to hold the Final Four on April 3 and 5. The exact preliminary round dates are still to be determined.

“This is a historic moment for NCAA members and the state of Indiana,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement. “We have worked tirelessly to reimagine a tournament structure that maintains our unique championship opportunity for college athletes. The reality of today’s announcement was possible thanks to the tremendous leadership of our membership, local authorities and staff.”

March Madness will be hosted by Ball State University, Butler University, the Horizon League, Indiana University, IUPUI and Purdue University, which are lending their facilities and staffs to assist with tournament operations. The Indiana Convention Center will be used as a practice facility, with multiple courts set up inside the venue. 

Games will be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Purdue’s Mackey Arena, Indiana’s Assembly Hall and at two courts in the Indianapolis Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium. 

The NCAA said it will partner with a local health provider to administer COVID-19 testing for players, coaching staffs and officials. The Marion County Health Department has approved medical protocols shared by the NCAA.

On Nov. 16, the NCAA first announced it would move the tournament to a single location “to enhance the safety and well-being of the event.” The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee said it was in preliminary talks with the city of Indianapolis to potentially host the 68-team tournament. Indianapolis was already slated to host the Men’s Final Four.

The tournament was set to be held in 13 preliminary sites around the country, but the committee decided that could be “difficult to execute” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Holding the tournament in one location provides a more controlled environment for teams to play and practice and reduces travel.

Last season, the 2020 NCAA men’s tournament was canceled in March amid the pandemic.

The 2021 tournament’s relocation came after the NCAA pushed back the start of this college basketball season from Nov. 10 to Nov. 25.

Throughout the first month of the season, college hoops has already seen numerous games canceled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On Dec. 25, Duke’s women’s basketball team decided to end its season amid the coronavirus pandemic. The program had been on pause since Dec. 16 because of two positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing within its travel party. The Blue Devils became the first Power Five school to start this season and elect not to finish it because of the virus. In November, the Ivy League also opted out of playing winter sports before the basketball season even started. 

In early December, Duke women’s basketball coach Kara Lawson said: “I don’t think we should be playing right now. That’s my opinion on it.” 

Her statement came one day after Duke men’s coach Mike Krzyzewski questioned why college basketball was being played in the midst of the pandemic.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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