As the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament draws closer, the association is still spelling out details of contingency plans should a team be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
NCAA vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt, seeking to explain the NCAA’s plans, told the Associated Press that all a team needs to compete is five healthy players.
“We decided if they had five players eligible and healthy,” they could play, Gavitt said. “We wrestled with contingencies, and thought it was fairest for a team that earned its way, that even if it was compromised, they should have the opportunity to play rather than be replaced.”
However, the fluid nature of the situation was revealed when Gavitt was asked what might happen if a team’s coaching staff was hit by the virus.
“Honestly, it’s probably something we should talk about as a committee,” he said.
In February, the NCAA released details of its plans for what would happen if a team were forced to withdraw from the tournament due to COVID-19. Some of those details:
Once the bracket is finalized and released, teams will not be reseeded, nor will the bracket change.
Reasonable efforts will be made to ensure a full field is in place before the start of the championship. No replacement teams will be introduced after the championship begins.
Every participating conference should have the opportunity for a minimum of one team in the championship field.
Beyond the goal of having at least one team from every conference, replacement teams must be among the best teams being considered for an at-large bid.
Replacement teams would only be named under specific circumstances. More about those plans can be found here.
The NCAA Tournament bracket will be announced on Sunday evening.