The NCAA announced Monday that it plans to hold the entire men’s college basketball tournament in one geographic location in 2021 to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 and is in talks with Indianapolis as the host city.
The Final Four is due to take place in Indianapolis this coming April, and the NCAA is headquartered in the Indiana capital.
Early round matches were scheduled in 13 designated locations across the country, with regional ones in Minneapolis, Denver, Memphis, Tennessee, and New York City, with the top four in Dayton, Ohio.
The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee decided that relocating these to a location would allow for a safe and controlled environment with nearby venues, practice facilities, shelter, and medical resources.
“Trying to run a 68-team, 67-game event over three weeks in a safe and responsible manner really had to be conducted in a highly controlled, unique environment,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball. across from NCAA.com.
“The committee made a really good decision here, disappointing as it moves away from our esteemed hosts for 13 different locations from First Four to Regional,” he said. “If we wrap this up in one geographic area so we can do it more safely and responsibly, we need to be there.”
The NCAA has set a start date for the season on November 25th as it tries to recover from the two lucrative tournaments that were canceled last spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. The cancellation of the NCAA tournament resulted in a drop in sales of $ 375 million distributed to member institutions, placing a heavy burden on sports departments across the country.
Schools have been scrambling to fill schedules while coronavirus has ravaged college football and canceled more than 60 games. Several basketball programs are currently suspended due to COVID-19, and the Ivy League announced last week the end of winter sports, including men’s and women’s basketball.
Gavitt said there is no plan to change the start date for November 25, and plans to play the NCAA tournament in March and April as planned. No decision has yet been made whether fans will be admitted. This decision will also face individual conferences as their tournaments approach in March.
NCAA President Mark Emmert had previously circulated the idea of playing the NCAA tournament in a bubble after the NBA and NHL managed to end their season with similar attitudes.
It can take a while for the women’s basketball committee to decide what to do with the tournament. Since 2015, the first two rounds have been played on the home campus of the top 16 seeds. These are not known until the Monday of the selection, so there are no set websites.
The women’s final next March is scheduled for San Antonio and the regional games are set to take place in Albany, New York. Austin, Texas; Cincinnati and Spokane, Washington.