The NCAA announced Monday that its season-ending men’s basketball tournament will be held entirely in Indiana.
“This is a historic moment for NCAA members and the state of Indiana,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said. “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.”
The move had been widely expected since the NCAA announced in November that the entire tournament — which was canceled last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic — would be held in a single geographic area to limit the spread of the virus.
The NCAA painted a clearer picture Monday, spelling out where each round of games will be played while also announcing a partnership with a local health provider that will “administer COVID-19 testing within the controlled environment for players, coaching staffs, administrators and officials. The Marion County Health Department has approved medical protocols shared by the NCAA and will continue collaborating with the NCAA leading up to and during the championship.”
The 67-game tournament — for which the field will be chosen on March 14 — will be hosted by Ball State, Butler, the Horizon League, Indiana, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Purdue.
Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, which has always been slated to host the 2021 Final Four, will have two courts, with only one game being played at a time. Games will also be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Mackey Arena and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
The Indiana Convention Center will be converted into a practice facility. Skywalks from the center connect directly to Marriott properties in which most of the teams will stay.
“The 2021 version of March Madness will be one to remember, if for no other reason than the uniqueness of the event,” NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said. “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 neighbors 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.”
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