INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA will host the entire men’s basketball championship in Indiana in 2021, with the majority of the tournament’s 67 games taking place in Indianapolis. Selection Sunday is still scheduled for March 14th, and the Final Four is still scheduled to be held on April 3rd and 5th. The exact dates for the preliminary round have yet to be determined.
“This is a historic moment for NCAA members and the state of Indiana,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “We have worked tirelessly to redefine a tournament structure that will retain our unique championship opportunity for college athletes. The reality of today’s announcement was made possible thanks to the tremendous leadership of our members, local authorities and staff. “
The NCAA is working with a local health care provider to conduct COVID-19 testing in the controlled environment for players, coaching staff, administrators and officials. The Marion County Health Department has approved medical protocols shared by the NCAA and will continue to work with the NCAA before and during the championship.
The tournament is hosted by Ball State, Butler, the Horizon League, Indiana, Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis and Purdue, who provide their facilities and staff to support the tournament. The Indiana Convention Center is used as a practice facility in which several courts are set up. Marriott Properties, an official NCAA corporate partner, will house most of the tournament teams. The accommodations are connected to the convention center via skywalks and in a controlled environment. All teams will be housed on special hotel floors, with physically distant meeting and dining rooms and safe transport to and from the competition venues.
The games will be played on two courts at Lucas Oil Stadium, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington. Only one game is played at the Lucas Oil Stadium.
CBS Sports and Turner Sports will continue to distribute all 67 games of the tournament on TBS, CBS, TNT, truTV and their digital platforms.
“The 2021 version of March Madness will be one to remember, if for no other reason than the uniqueness of the event,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball. “With the leadership of the men’s basketball committee, we are taking advantage of the circumstances brought about by the global pandemic. We are fortunate to have neighbors and partners in Indianapolis and the surrounding communities who not only love the game of basketball as much as everyone else in the country, but also have a long history of hosting major sporting events.
“It’s going to be complicated and difficult. There is no question about that. We appreciate the collaboration between the basketball committee and the men’s staff, our hosts and local organizers, the staff at each training and competition site, and our broadcast and corporate partners. We’re all going to pull together and have a great national championship. “
The NCAA is closely monitoring the ongoing pandemic and will continue to work with local officials to determine if it is possible for fans to participate in games at any of the venues. However, a limited number of family members of the student athletes and coaches of each participating team are permitted to participate in their team’s games. Details regarding the possible allocation of other tickets will be determined later, as will any decision on fan events.
The NCAA is also working with the city and state to promote Mask Madness, an initiative promoting health and safety through social distancing and wearing a mask. As part of this program, the NCAA will donate thousands of masks across the state in the run-up to the tournament.