NCAA Wants to Put Madness in Single Place

Environment would be less than a bubble, and the Final Four teams will spend a month in host city
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2020 7:25 PM CST
No More Regionals: NCAA Wants Single Host for 2021 Tournament
Duke players celebrate after their NCAA Final Four college basketball tournament championship game against Wisconsin in Indianapolis in April 2015.   (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

There will be no NCAA men's basketball tournament games played in Dayton, Raleigh, or any of the 11 other sites expecting to host teams in 2021—and collect the revenue that comes with them. But there will be a tournament, the NCAA said Monday. All 68 tournament games instead will be played in one place, CBS Sports reports, in recognition of the risk posed by the coronavirus pandemic. March Madness was canceled this year for the same reason. "It will be a very controlled environment," an NCAA executive said, per the AP. "It'll be different, it’ll be historic, and it’ll be hopefully something we all treasure and experience just once, hopefully not ever again." The tournament usually opens in Dayton, which counts on $4 million being generated. The regional sites were to be Minneapolis, New York, Denver, and Memphis. The NCAA made no announcement about the women's tournament, which runs at the same time. As of now, the women's Final Four is planned for San Antonio.

The NCAA is negotiating to make the Indianapolis area the host, per ESPN. That surprised local health officials, though the NCAA had said it was "developing a solid plan to present a safe, responsible" event. "The Marion County Public Health Department has not received any details regarding this proposed initiative announced by the NCAA," a statement said. The NCAA promises a "controlled environment" but not a "bubble" like the NBA formed. Anyone who enters that environment will not be able to leave and reenter, so the student-athletes who make the Final Four will have to stay in Indiana for a month. In USA Today, Dan Wolken points out that the NCAA—with the help of a $270 million insurance policy—could get away with calling off this year's tournament. But another cancellation could be fatal. As a reminder of what's at stake financially, he pointed out that the last line of the NCAA's statement was: "CBS Sports and Turner Sports will continue to distribute all 67 games of the tournament across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV and their digital platforms." (More NCAA tournament stories.)

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