INDIANAPOLIS - On Monday, November 16, the NCAA announced that the Division 1 Men's Basketball Committee has decided that the 2021 NCAA Tournament will be held in a single geographical area.
As a result, NCAA staff are in preliminary talks with the state of Indiana and the city of Indianapolis to potentially host the 68-team tournament around the metropolitan area during the coordinated dates in March and April. Indianapolis was already slated to host the Men’s Final Four from April 3-5, 2021.
Although it's not a bubble, anyone who enters will be required to stay until eliminated or deciding to exit. That means the teams that make a run to the Final Four will have to stay in one location for a month.
“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 committee emphasized the importance of conducting the championship in a manageable geographic area that limits travel and provides a safe and controlled environment with competition and practice venues, medical resources and lodging for teams and officials all within proximity of one another.
“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.”
Typically the tournament is played in various venues across the country. The 2020 NCAA Tournament was canceled completely.