NCAA men’s basketball tournament to be held in 1 location in 2021
Due to coronavirus concerns, the 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament will be held in one location.
NCAA officials made the announcement Monday, opting for “a single geographic area to enhance the safety and well-being of the event.”
A total of 13 preliminary round sites across the nation were originally designated for the tournament.
Instead, the NCAA committee is in “preliminary talks” with the state of Indiana and the city of Indianapolis on possibly hosting the 68-team tournament around the metropolitan area in March and April.
The men’s Final Four is already slated to be played in Indianapolis from April 3-5.
“My committee colleagues and I did not come lightly to the difficult decision to relocate the preliminary rounds of the 2021 tournament, as we understand the disappointment 13 communities will feel to miss out on being part of March Madness next year,” Mitch Barnhart, chair of the Division I men’s basketball committee and University of Kentucky athletics director, said in a press release.
“With the University of Kentucky slated to host first- and second-round games in March, this is something that directly impacts our school and community, so we certainly share in their regret. The committee and staff deeply appreciate the efforts of all the host institutions and conferences, and we look forward to bringing the tournament back to the impacted sites in future years.”
The decision to hold the tournament in one location limits travel and provides a safe and controlled environment with competition and practice venues, medical resources and lodging for teams and officials all within proximity of one another, the NCAA said.
“The committee and staff have thoughtfully monitored the pandemic to develop potential contingency plans,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in the release.
“The Board of Governors and my top priorities are to protect the health and well-being of college athletes while also maintaining their opportunity to compete at the highest level. These principles have guided the decision-making process as we continue to assess how to have a fair and safe championship experience.”