Editor’s note: This article was originally published by the Indianapolis Star and has been republished in its entirety below.
Against a difficult financial backdrop, in the midst of a global pandemic, the NCAA is going to try something unprecedented.
The association announced Jan. 4 that it would host the entire Division I men’s basketball tournament in central Indiana, even as the state reported 3,630 new cases of coronavirus and an additional 39 deaths, and saw a steady rise in the positivity rate from Dec. 23 through the early part of January. Those numbers have begun trending better recently.
The NCAA is taking what it hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime approach to the 2021 tournament after last year’s tournament was shut down by COVID-19 before it could begin, costing the NCAA revenues approaching $1 billion.
Which is why, even given the unprecedented challenges, the wider public health situation and the fact that this has never been tried before, there exists a firm belief that the NCAA will, come hell or high water, find a way to make it happen.
No one can afford the alternative.