Inside INdiana Business is reporting that the NCAA will allow a limited number of fans at the 2021 men’s basketball championship in Indiana, including all rounds and the Final Four. The organization says the venues will be able to have up to 25% capacity with physical distancing.
The NCAA says the capacity includes players, coaches, essential staff, and family members of each participating team.
Attendance levels, however, could vary by venue.
“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.”
All attendees must wear face coverings and practice physical distancing during the event. Thorough cleaning, disinfecting and safety measures will be a priority in all venues.
The NCAA says the decision was made in conjunction with state and local health authorities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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,” said NCAA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Hainline. “Additionally, IU Health is providing critical testing and monitoring services enabling us to safely conduct the tournament.”
A majority of the tournament’s 67 games will take place in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, and the Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indy.
Additionally, games will be held at Mackey Arena on the Purdue University campus and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall at Indiana University. However, IU says it plans to limit spectators at Assembly Hall to up to 500.
“Indiana University’s plan, based on recommendations from the Medical Response Team, is consistent with the attendance policy at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall during the 2020-2021 basketball season permitting immediate family members of participating players and staff members to attend the games,” IU said in a news release. “A limited number of seats will also be available for vaccinated medical personnel and first responders from Monroe County.”
The first four games of the tournament will tip off March 18. The first round will begin on March 19 and 20.