The NCAA will allow 25% capacity when its men's basketball tournament is held in Indiana next month, the organization announced Friday.
The tournament will begin March 18 with First Four games played Simon Skojdt Assembly Hall in Bloomington and Mackey Arena in Lafayette.
In early January, the NCAA announced the entire tournament would be played in Central Indiana, with the majority of games scheduled at venues in Indianapolis.
The event capacity will include all participants, essential staff and family members of each team's players and coaches and a reduced number of fans, according to the NCAA. Face coverings and social distancing will be required.
“We continue to use the knowledge we have gained over the season on how to conduct games in a safe environment,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a news release. “I want to thank our host universities and conferences, the Indiana State Health Department, and the leaders in the Marion, Monroe and Tippecanoe county health departments as they help make that possible.”
Games played in Indianapolis will take place on two courts inside Lucas Oil Stadium, as well as at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse and Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The NCAA said only one game at a time will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“This year’s tournament will be like no other, and while we know it won’t be the same for anyone, we are looking forward to providing a memorable experience for the student-athletes, coaches and fans at a once-in-a-lifetime tournament,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball.
The 2020 NCAA tournament was canceled in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NCAA worked with local health authorities to develop COVID-19 health and safety protocols that include testing, face coverings, physical distancing and contact tracing requirements before teams arrive and throughout the tournament.
Indianapolis was already scheduled to host the Final Four from April 3-5 at Lucas Oil Stadium. Selection Sunday is set for March 14.
2021 NCAA tournament schedule
- March 18: First Four (Simon Skojdt Assembly Hall and Mackey Arena)
- March 19-20: First Round (Games at all six venues)
- March 21-22: Second Round (Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse and Indiana Farmers Coliseum)
- March 27-28: Sweet 16 (Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Hinkle Fieldhouse)
- March 29-30: Elite 8 (Lucas Oil Stadium)
- April 3: Final Four (Lucas Oil Stadium)
- April 5: National Championship (Lucas Oil Stadium)
This story was originally published by Daniel Bradley at WRTV.