LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The NCAA will allow a limited number of fans at the 2021 Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, including all rounds and the Final Four. The decision to allow up to 25% capacity with physical distancing was made in conjunction with state and local health authorities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event capacity will include all participants, essential staff and family members of each participating team’s student-athletes and coaches and a reduced number of fans. All attendees must wear face coverings and physically distance during the event. Thorough cleaning, disinfecting and safety measures will be a priority in all venues.
“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. “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.”
The NCAA previously announced it will stage the entire 2021 men’s basketball championship in Indiana, with the majority of the tournament’s 67 games taking place in Indianapolis.
“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. “After the cancellation of the 2020 tournament, we are happy to welcome some fans back to all rounds of the Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.”
The NCAA formalized the COVID-19 health and safety protocols for the championship in conjunction with local authorities. The protocols include testing, face coverings, physical distancing and contact tracing requirements before teams arrive and throughout their stay in the tournament.
“The number one priority for decisions around the tournament continues to be the safety and well-being of everyone participating in the event,” NCAA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Hainline said. “We have been in regular conversations with the NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group and local health officials to make sure we have the right protocols in place to provide a safe environment. Additionally, IU Health is providing critical testing and monitoring services enabling us to safely conduct the tournament.”
The tournament will be hosted by Ball State, Butler, the Horizon League, Indiana, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Purdue, which are lending their facilities and staffs to assist with tournament operations. The Indiana Convention Center will be used as a practice facility, with multiple courts set up inside the venue.
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