That means 68 men’s college basketball teams from the postseason tournament will flock to the Indiana capital in March. NCAA officials have stated that they are in preliminary talks with the city and state to find a single location for all teams, but Indianapolis has already hosted portions of the tournament. This season, the Final Four should take place from April 3rd to 5th, 2021.
The NCAA originally planned to host the singles elimination tournament in 13 different cities for first-round games, but the challenges of maintaining a safe environment were too great.
“We have learned so much from monitoring other successful sporting events over the past few months, and it has become clear that given the challenges of the pandemic, it is impossible to manage this complex championship in so many different states,” said the senior vice president NCAA basketball Dan Gavitt said Monday in an NCAA press release.
Back in August, the chairman of the men’s basketball selection committee, Mitch Barnhart, announced that the NCAA would do everything possible to host March Madness in 2021.
“We’re going to do absolutely everything we can, whatever our assets, resources, whatever, to give our young people the chance to play the game they love,” said Barnhart. On Monday, NCAA President Mark Emmert added, “The Board of Governors and my number one priority are protecting the health and well-being of college athletes while maintaining the ability to compete at the highest level. These principles have guided decision-making As We Continue examine how we can achieve a fair and safe championship experience. “
Regarding the women’s tournament, the NCAA told CNN in an email: “The Women’s Basketball Committee is continuing its ongoing discussions with staff, broadcast partners and medical experts to determine the next steps for the women’s basketball tournament. The main focus of these discussions is safety and security the wellbeing of the athletes, coaches, officials, administrators and everyone else who will participate in our venues. “
The NCAA was forced to cancel the 2020 edition of March Madness amid concerns about the spread of Covid-19, which has continued to surge across the country. Previously, the Men’s Division I Championship has been played every year since its inception in 1939.
In September, the NCAA Division I Council approved a November 25 launch for men’s and women’s basketball teams to play regular season games.
Both the NBA and WNBA played their regular and post-season games in Florida in the respective bubbles of Orlando and Bradenton that year and were largely successful – with no major breakouts. When sports like college football resume, the opposite has been seen: dozens of games have already been postponed or canceled due to outbreaks.