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NCAA Tournament Reveals How It'll Handle Teams Dropping Out

NCAA Tournament First Four college basketball games in Dayton

DAYTON, OH - MARCH 15: Rashaun Madison #3 of the North Carolina Central Eagles dribbles the ball in the first half against the UC Davis Aggies during the First Four game in the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at UD Arena on March 15, 2017 in Dayton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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.

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.

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.