After canceling March Madness earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA is working on plans to ensure that the 2021 Division I men's basketball tournament can happen next year.
Instead of hosting preliminary rounds at 13 different sites around the country, the NCAA wants to hold the entire 68-team tournament in a single-city bubble, similar to the NBA and NHL.
"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. "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."
NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt said that officials realized it was "not feasible" to try to manage the tournament across 13 different cities.
"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 Gavitt. "However, we are developing a solid plan to present a safe, responsible, and fantastic March Madness tournament, unlike any other we've experienced."
The NCAA is in talks with officials in Indianapolis to host the tournament in March and April. Indianapolis was already scheduled to host the Men's Final Four from April 3-5.
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