With Selection Sunday just over two weeks away, the NCAA has announced contingency plans in case a team can not participate in the NCAA Tournament due to COVID-19.
The guidelines the NCAA announced will be followed for both the men’s and women’s tournaments. There are separate policies for if/when a team has to withdraw, one before the bracket is set and one for afterwards.
No replacement teams will be admitted into the field beyond 48 hours after the bracket is announced. Two other major points of emphasis from the NCAA are below.
- Once the bracket is finalized and released, teams will not be reseeded, nor will the bracket change.
- Reasonable efforts will be made to ensure a full field is in place before the start of the championship. No replacement teams will be introduced after the championship begins.
NEWS: NCAA announces initial contingency plans for what it will do if a team is unable to play in the NCAAs due to COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/MQ45PeYrOL
— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) February 25, 2021
According to longtime Kentucky writer Jerry Tipton, the “first four out” teams will be ranked 1-4 and designated as possible replacement teams in case a team drops out before the tournament gets underway.
The last four teams not selected as at-large teams for the original field of 68 shall be designated as replacement teams. Those teams will be ranked 1 through 4. A replacement team would be placed in the same position in the bracket as the team not able to play because of COVID.
— Jerry Tipton (@JerryTipton) February 25, 2021
Interestingly, there is still no clear indication of what will have to happen for a team to withdraw from the event. One positive COVID-19 test likely won’t do it, but it’s unclear how big the issues would have to get for a team to be unable to compete.
Here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that anyway.