March Madness set to resume as NCAA closes deal for Indiana tournament – Deadline

Confirming a plan it began exploring last fall, the NCAA said it will host the entire men’s basketball tournament – the event known as March Madness – in Indiana in due to Covid-19.

This extraordinary initiative aims to ensure that the extravagance of this year’s 67 games does not meet the same fate as the 2020 edition. The cancellation of the tournament last March was one of the most important opening shows. shocking events of the coronavirus pandemic.

The news gives a boost to WarnerMedia’s Turner Networks as well as ViacomCBS. The two companies have shared the tournament’s broadcast rights for many years and will do so again this year. Fox and ESPN are also major players in college basketball shows.

Stop of commercial production on the So Cal set by SAG-AFTRA, PGA and the advertisers

Selection Sunday, the day the tournament participants are announced, remains scheduled for March 14, with the Final Four scheduled for April 3 and 5. The exact dates for the other rounds of the tournament are yet to be determined.

Like college football, college basketball has had a bumpy ride during the pandemic. After an empty end to the season in March, the usual regular season pattern resumed in the fall, but many games have been postponed or canceled due to rising infection rates across the country. Sports mandarins like Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski have called for the season to be moved later in the calendar.

Under the NCAA plan, all games will be played at four venues in Indianapolis as well as venues in Bloomington and West Lafayette. While it wasn’t the NBA Playoff bubble environment last summer and fall, the setup dramatically cuts travel.

A major question mark is the presence of fans. In the official announcement, the NCAA said it was monitoring the situation as various states and local authorities responded to the viral trends. The organization “will continue to work with local officials to determine the feasibility of having fans attend matches at one of the venues,” the announcement said. A “limited number” of family members of athletes and coaches from each participating team will be permitted to attend their team’s matches. If further ticket sales are allowed, those details will be revealed down the line.

“This is a historic moment for the members of the NCAA and for the state of Indiana,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “We have worked tirelessly to reinvent a tournament structure that maintains our unique championship opportunity for varsity athletes. The reality of today’s announcement was made possible by the tremendous leadership of our members, local authorities and staff.

NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt said health and safety procedures would make the business “complicated and difficult.” Players will stay in hotels close to the courts but with social distancing, masks and other measures. Testing will be a centerpiece of this effort.

“The 2021 version of March Madness will be one to remember, if not for some other reason than the uniqueness of the event,” said Gavitt. “We are making the most of the circumstances that the global pandemic has presented.”

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