INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA announced Monday it plans to hold the entire 2021 men’s college basketball tournament in one geographic location to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 and is in talks with Indianapolis to be the host city.
The Final Four is already set to be held in Indianapolis next year and the NCAA has its headquarters in the Indiana capital.
While Kansas City is often a host for either the first or second weekend of games, 2021 is not a year where games are scheduled at the T-Mobile Center. The closest site that loses out is in Wichita, which had been preparing for the tournament since a 2017 announcement.
“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,” stated 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 association said it is relocating early-round games that had been scheduled to be played at 13 already-determined sites. The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee said hosting all 68 teams in one place would “enhance the safety and well-being of the event.”