After being forced to cancel the NCAA Tournament earlier this year, the NCAA is doing all it can to ensure they don’t have to do that again.
In an official announcement on Monday, the NCAA announced it will will be instituting a bubble for the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Per the announcement, the entire tournament will be played in the Indianapolis area.
The NCAA cited the city of Indianapolis already being the host site for the Final Four this coming year as the reason they targeted it. The city boasts several venues that can hold such events, including Lucas Oil Stadium, Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Hinkle Fieldhouse.
“…NCAA staff are in preliminary talks with the State of Indiana and the city of Indianapolis to potentially host the 68-team tournament around the metropolitan area during the coordinated dates in March and April,” the statement said. “Indianapolis was already slated to host the Men’s Final Four from April 3-5, 2021…”
The NCAA Tournament bubble is happening, more or less, as all games will be held in the Indianapolis area. Smart. https://t.co/CXemXt9nRy
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) November 16, 2020
Of course, a lot of things will be dependent on things not getting worse in the state of Indiana from a COVID-19 standpoint.
The state is setting new highs in reported cases on an almost daily basis. Over 250,000 people have been diagnosed with the dangerous virus, and nearly 5,000 people have lost their lives.
But NCAA President Mark Emmert pledged that the association is looking into contingency plans in case they’re forced to change their plans.
“The committee and staff have thoughtfully monitored the pandemic to develop potential contingency plans,” Emmert said. “The Board of Governors and my top priorities are to protect the health and well-being of college athletes while also maintaining their opportunity to compete at the highest level. These principles have guided the decision-making process as we continue to assess how to have a fair and safe championship experience.”
We all miss college basketball. But we have to put everyone’s health first, even if it costs us a classic tournament – again.