NCAA Eyeing Indianapolis for March Madness Event

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NCAA Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Indianapolis

During the 2018 NCAA Tournament, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County pummeled down Virginia during the teams’ basketball face-off. The UMB marked its spot in America’s entire sports history, becoming the first number 16 seed to knock off a number one. Due to this record-breaking occurrence, NCAA keeps an eye out for Indianapolis as its next host city for the upcoming games.

In March, the craze kept going from Pittsburgh to San Diego. During the second round, top-ranked Xavier got defeated alongside number 2 seeds Cincinnati and North Carolina. Moreover, two thirded-seed teams received defeat, including three number 4 seeds during the early stages of the competition in an opening weekend. The transpired incidents have what indicated NCAA Tournament’s spectacle more interesting to anticipate.

On Monday, the NCAA Tournament declared that it intends to hold the 2021 men’s championship in only one location to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19. The previously mentioned news hinted that the most expected coast-to-coast clash would not be happening anytime soon, leaving many fans upset with the decision. The announcement came after nine months since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, leading to the cancellation of the 2020 tournaments. Due to the abrogation, host cities and the state’s athletic departments suffered severe economic impacts.

The brackets would take place at one city’s multiple venues, becoming a one-stop version of the standard tournament that usually takes place in every U.S. region across the country. 

According to the NCAA’s basketball senior vice president Dan Gavitt, the future games would employ strict and controlled environment elements for safety precautions between the players, the staff, and spectators. Gavitt also expressed his hopes of doing these protocols as a one-time event and to soon return to the lively plays without gameplay restrictions and thundering cheering stands.

Meanwhile, NCAA did not issue an official statement regarding its future plays next year for the women’s division. Usually, the women’s tournament begins as early as March or as late as April every year.

The COVID-19 pandemic stalled every sport’s competition events since earlier this year. Baseball cut down their regular season to only 60 games, holding a World game series only in Texas and no house plays for Tampa Bay or LA Dodgers. Additionally, the NHL and NBA finished their seasons in controlled-environment venues. Despite experiencing dozens of positive coronavirus tests, the NHL insisted on its regular season’s continuation.

According to NCAA, its original plans involve the 2021 NCAA Tournament to host at least 67 games at 13 different sites across the state. The beginning of the season would initially open with the First Four in Dayton, Ohio. Moreover, scheduled regional venues would occur in Denver, Memphis, Tennesee, Minneapolis, and New York City. The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee admitted that multiple sites for the games would not be plausible due to the country’s current spike of coronavirus cases.

Kentucky athletic director and committee chair Mitch Barnhart affirmed the situation. According to Barnhart, he and the association concluded that holding the next set of games on 13 sites would not cut it due to the still surging pandemic. 

Holding the tournament in only one municipality would allow the NCAA a controlled environment with all lodging, medical resources, venues, and practice facilities situated close together. It would also make sense to coordinate with Indianapolis as the host city due to the First Four’s scheduled games to take place there in April next year.

Moreover, the NCAA finally announced November 25th as its scheduled date for the next season’s starting point after the 202o NCAA Tournament’s cancellation. Due to the season’s nullification, the NCAA lost its shortfall revenue, amounting to around $375 million.