The NCAA and the city of Indianapolis have finalized plans to hold the entire 2021 Tournament in Central Indiana and Indianapolis.
Where Will NCAA Games Be Played?
Games will be played on two courts inside Lucas Oil Stadium (Home Of The Colts) and site of the 2010 NCAA Final Four. Also at Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Home Of The Pacers), Hinkle Fieldhouse (On The Campus Of Butler University), Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Mackey Arena (Campus Of Purdue University) and Assembly Hall (Home Of The Indiana Hoosiers).
Desperation or Duty?
This unprecedented move is a proactive response to unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19. The ongoing pandemic, which forced the complete cancellation of last year’s tournament, has significantly disrupted sports in this country.
Numerous college basketball games have been canceled or postponed, and the pandemic has also prompted many programs around the country to cancel the entire season or pause all activities midseason.
The NCAA asserts that holding the tourney in one centralized location is the best and only way to migrate through a 68-team and 67-game “March Madness”.
The NCAA hopes the logistics of doing so will allow it to be done more safely and smoothly while making March Madness much more manageable. Sort of like what the NBA pulled off with the Orlando Bubble restart, which worked like a dream and allowed the league to crown a champion in October.
Safest Option Other Than Canceling NCAA Tourney
NCAA President Mark Emmert stated that the governing body isn’t being naive as to how hard this will be to pull-off.
But it’s probably their only hope. The other option would be canceling the NCAA tournament for a second straight season. The pandemic which unfortunately has seen record spikes lately will still be around come March and this is a way to try and keep those involved as safe as possible.
Can Fans Attend?
As of now, only family members will be able to attend, and an official decision on whether the general public will be allowed to attend hasn’t been made yet. The NCAA will have to consult with local health officials as we get closer to the event to see where the current numbers are as it pertains to the virus.
This will be a “March Madness” to remember, just as every other sporting event that’s taken place since the pandemic began ravaging the US in March 2020 has been. This year’s Maui Invitational which was displaced, but still went on, received rave reviews for its bubble-like setup and should be considered as a blueprint to help pull this off as well.
It’ll be something we’ll never forget either way but so much sweeter if it’s accomplished.