One dinner will cost six referees a chance to officiate the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Stadium’s Jeff Goodman received a statement from the NCAA on Monday, confirming that six referees have been sent home after one positive COVID-19 test and corresponding contact tracing.
“The NCAA has replaced several officials for March Madness because of a positive COVID-19 test,” the statement reads. “One official tested positive March 15, and five other officials the person interacted with the day before were identified as exposure risks due to prolonged close contact. Based on tournament protocols and contract tracing with local public health authorities, these officials may not participate in the tournament. The infected official must be placed in isolation, and the other officials must be placed in quarantine. Four replacement officials have been previously approved and meet the pre-tournament testing protocols. Two of the officials will not be replaced.”
Goodman reported that the refs, including Ted Valentine, John Higgins and Roger Ayers, went to dinner while waiting for their hotel rooms to be ready.
According to ESPN, the NCAA initially brought 60 refs to Indianapolis, where the entire tournament will be held in order to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. No teams have pulled out of the tournament yet, while Louisville, Colorado State, Saint Louis and Mississippi are designated replacement teams.
The tournament’s first four begins Thursday evening, while the national championship is set for April 5.
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