The NCAA has selected Indianapolis as the host of the entire March Madness tournament. The event will be run in a Covid-19 protective bubble.
The Event will Start on March 14 with Final on April 5
Various media outlets reported that Indiana will host the entire 2021 NCAA men’s basketball championship, with the majority of the tournament’s 67 games taking place in Indianapolis. The information was confirmed by the NCAA on Monday.
March Madness is set to begin with Selection Sunday on March 14, and the Final Four are still scheduled for April 3 and 5, with exact preliminary-round dates to be determined. This year, the NCAA is taking a “bubble” approach due to the pandemic. The association hopes that the single location, centralized logistics and consistent controls will help avoid cancellations during the event.
In March last year, Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships, were cancelled due to the evolving coronavirus pandemic. The NCAA lost at least $375 million due to the cancellation of the 2020 Men’s NCAA Tournament.
Despite the complex epidemic situation in 2020, Indiana sports wagering handle reported an all-time high in November last year. Sports betting reached a record $251.4 million with football at the top of the list ($113.5 million), followed by basketball ($17.7 million) and baseball ($394 million).
“We have worked tirelessly to reimagine a tournament structure that maintains our unique championship opportunity for college athletes. The reality of today’s announcement was possible thanks to the tremendous leadership of our membership, local authorities and staff.”NCAA President Mark Emmert
NCAA Works Hard to Ensure Health and Safety During the Event
The host sites confirmed by the NCAA are Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Mackey Arena, Assembly Hall and Lucas Oil (two courts).
Teams will practice at the Indiana Convention Center and will be accommodated in hotels connected to the facility. Two courts will be set up inside Lucas Oil Stadium, though only one game will be played at a time.
The NCAA has been working very hard to ensure a safe environment when running the event. The medical protocols elaborated by the organization have been approved by Marion County Health Department. On the other hand, players, coaching staff, administrators and officials will get tested for Covid-19 during the event.
Sports betting legalization in the USA is gaining momentum after gambling expansion measures were approved by six states in the presidential elections November 3. However, certain types of wagers, such as individual bets on college athletes, have raised concerns about game integrity.
An NCAA official attending the Sports Betting USA 2020 online event spoke about the risk of individual bets on college athletes and called for restrictions on prop bets to protect the game and the athletes.