We are less than 10 days away from the start of the 2020-21 college basketball season and as expected, this season is going to be a wild one due to the coronavirus.
The strangeness of the 2020-21 season is going to be seen in this years’ NCAA Tournament with the NCAA announcing Monday that the entire 68-team tournament will be played in a single location.
That location is likely to be Indianapolis, which is where the 2021 Final Four is scheduled to take place from April 3-5.
Throughout the past several weeks, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee has been in discussions to determine the best way to hold a safe and healthy NCAA Tournament for everyone involved.
They determined that hosting the tournament at 13 preliminary round locations throughout the entire country would not be safe with our current state of the pandemic.
With that being said, the NCAA is currently in talks with the state of Indiana about potentially hosting the 68-team tournament around the metropolitan area with it concluding in Indianapolis for the Final Four.
“My committee colleagues and I did not come lightly to the difficult decision to relocate the preliminary rounds of the 2021 tournament, as we understand the disappointment 13 communities will feel to miss out on being part of March Madness next year,” said Mitch Barnhart, chair of the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee and University of Kentucky athletics director. “With the University of Kentucky slated to host first- and second-round games in March, this is something that directly impacts our school and community, so we certainly share in their regret. The committee and staff deeply appreciate the efforts of all the host institutions and conferences, and we look forward to bringing the tournament back to the impacted sites in future years.”
The NCAA has stressed the importance of making sure the tournament is held in a manageable geographic area that will limit travel and be a safe controlled environment for the participants. This would allow practice venues, medical resources, and housing for the teams and officials staying in a close proximity.
“We have learned so much from monitoring other successful sporting events in the last several months, and it became clear it’s not feasible to manage this complex championship in so many different states with the challenges presented by the pandemic,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball. “However, we are developing a solid plan to present a safe, responsible and fantastic March Madness tournament unlike any other we’ve experienced.”
Once again, we see that the health and safety of everyone involved is the top priority and rightfully so.
“The committee and staff have thoughtfully monitored the pandemic to develop potential contingency plans,” said Mark Emmert, NCAA President. “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.”
As for the games being shown on TV, CBS Sports and Turner Sports will continue to distribute all of the games on TBS, TNT, CBS, and TruTV.
UK Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart, chair of the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, and NCAA Senior Vice President Dan Gavitt were on a Zoom call with Andy Katz this morning to explain the decision. You can check that out below:
NCAA SVP Dan Gavitt & Committee Chair Mitch Barnhart provide insight into the decision to move the 2021 NCAA Tournament to one geographic area.— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) November 16, 2020