Indiana will host all of this year’s NCAA March Madness men’s tournaments following discussions with state and local officials about logistics and health concerns.
It follows what professional leagues – including the NBA – have done to continue competing during the pandemic. The NCAA canceled March Madness last year due to COVID-19. Indianapolis was already set to host this year’s Final Four in the Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament.
With the ongoing pandemic, the NCAA decided one geographic location would be used to reduce the potential spread of the virus.
Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball, said central Indiana was able to meet the necessary criteria from game and practice sites to lodging and food options.
"The challenges of having a large scale event that requires travel is almost infeasible during the pandemic," Gavitt said. "So having that single geographic area was really important to having this done in a safe and responsible and successful way."
While most games will be at four venues in Indianapolis, some early games will be played in Bloomington and West Lafayette.
Indiana Sports Corporation President Ryan Vaughn said it’s going to take the whole city of Indianapolis to make everyone feel safe and welcome.
"Indy quite literally was made for this moment," said Vaughn. "So now let’s all go out there and be the best partners we can be for the NCAA; let’s wear our mask, wear it today so they can play. Let’s help all these student athletes with this incredible experience."
Evansville will host the Men’s Division II tournament and Fort Wayne will host Men’s Division III.
So far officials have yet to announce if fans will be able to be at the games, but are planning to allow families of athletes on the 68 teams to attend.
This story has been updated.