Editor’s note: This article was originally published by the Indianapolis Star and has been republished in its entirety below.
The NCAA and city of Indianapolis have finalized plans to hold the entire men’s NCAA tournament here.
What is an unprecedented move comes in response to unprecedented challenges.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the cancellation of last year’s tournament, has already caused significant disruption across college basketball. Games have been canceled or postponed, and several programs around the country have had to pause activity midseason because of the virus.
Holding the tournament in one centralized location, the NCAA hopes, will make the logistics of doing so safely and smoothly more manageable.
“We’re not naive about how hard this is gonna be,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said. “The pandemic is still very much alive and it’s going to be in March. … but we owe this opportunity to provide a healthy, safe environment.”
— NCAA Final Four (@FinalFour) January 4, 2021
Games will be played on two courts inside Lucas Oil Stadium, as well as Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Purdue’s Mackey Arena and IU’s Assembly Hall. Only one game at a time will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium.
NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said family members can attend games but a decision on general fan attendance will be made at a later date in concert with local health officials.
“The 2021 version of March Madness will be one to remember, if for no other reason than the uniqueness of the event,” Gavitt said in a news release. “… 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.
“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 staffs at each practice and competition venue, and our broadcast and corporate partners. We will all pull together and stage a terrific national championship.”
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