The NCAA has confirmed Indiana as the venue for its entire 2021 Men’s Basketball Championship, with Indianapolis hosting the bulk of the 67 games of the tournament.
Selection Sunday is still scheduled for 14 March and there are still plans for the Final Four on 3 and 5 April, with definite provisional round dates to be decided.
NCAA President Mark Emmert said: “This is a historic moment for NCAA members and the state of Indiana.”
“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.”
NCAA and COVID
Under the regulated climate, the NCAA will work with a local health provider to conduct COVID-19 testing for players, coaching personnel, administrators and officials. Medical guidelines shared by the NCAA have been accepted by the Marion County Health Department and will continue to work with the NCAA before and during the championship.
The Indiana Convention Center, with several courts set up within the venue, will be used as a practice facility. Most of the tournament teams will be housed in Marriott properties, an official NCAA corporate partner.
In addition to Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Mackey Arena in West Lafayette and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington, games will be played on two courts inside Lucas Oil Stadium. At Lucas Oil Stadium, only one game at a time will be played.
All 67 games of the tournament will continue to be broadcast to TBS, CBS, TNT, TruTV and their streaming channels through CBS Sports and Turner Sports.
A March Madness to remember
NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt added: “The 2021 version of March Madness will be one to remember, if for no other reason than the uniqueness of the event.
“With the direction of the Men’s Basketball Committee, we are making the most of the circumstances the global pandemic has presented.
“We’re fortunate to have neighbours and partners in Indianapolis and surrounding communities who not only love the game of basketball as much as anyone else in the country but have a storied history when it comes to staging major sporting events.
“This is going to be complicated and difficult; there’s no question about that. We appreciate the collaboration among the Men’s Basketball Committee and staff, our hosts and local organizers, the staff at each practice and competition venue, and our broadcast and corporate partners. We will all pull together and stage a terrific national championship.”
The NCAA added that it is closely monitoring the ongoing pandemic and will continue to collaborate with local authorities to assess the viability of making fans attend games at each of the venues, although a small number of student-athletes and coaches of the family members of each participating team will be required to attend the games of their team.
Information related to the potential distribution of other tickets will be finalised later, as will any fan event decision.