The NCAA announced this morning that the entire men’s NCAA Tournament will be played in one geographic region — with Indianapolis being the preferred and most likely spot — as a way to limit exposure to the coronavirus. You can find out all the reasons why in the video below.
The plan remains to have the tournament be comprised of 68 teams.
The tournament plan will not be an isolated single bubble at one location, an NCAA official said, but rather it would be close to that type of scenario spread out in one region to help keep everyone safe.
“We have had initial discussions with the state of Indiana, with the city of Indianapolis to see if it’s feasible to run the entirety of the championship in the metropolitan area,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball.
“We think that (Indy) may be our best option if we can work out all the important details.”
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
“It was unreasonable to expect that” the tournament could be run over 13 locations,” said Mitch Barnhart, Kentucky’s AD and tournament committee chair this season.
“We felt like getting to one geographic location gave us the best opportunity to do that for the safety and health of the participants, the officials and all of the workers who are putting that thing on,” Barnhart added.
The 2020 NCAA Tournament was canceled because of the coronavirus. The event for the 2020-21 season was to be held in 13 cities, but it became obvious to the NCAA that it would be wiser to condense the tournament to one geographic area.
More than 75 percent of the NCAA’s annual revenue reportedly comes from the men’s NCAA Tournament, and losing out on it for a second straight year could be financially catastrophic for the NCAA.
There was little discussion of having a smaller field this season.
“We’re very focused on having 68 participants,” Barnhart said.
The NCAA wanted to get the word out now that there will be an NCAA Tournament, with the season scheduled to begin Nov. 25.
Gavitt said it was important that “every team knows there’s going to be March Madness in 2021” before the season even starts.
“We’re very optimistic with what we’re going to end up here. … It’s gonna be a tournament like we’ve never experienced before,” Gavitt said.