The NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee has made changes to 13 venues for the 2021 Championship. The move follows a plan to establish a more effective way to conduct a safe March Madness 2021 for all participants.
According to SBC Notícias, it was evident to the organization that having 13 headquarters spread across the United States would be very complicated due to the pandemic. Therefore, we opted for a championship in a single region in order to increase the safety of everyone involved.
The NCAA team is now in meetings with the state of Indiana and the city of Indianapolis to host the 68-team tournament during the months of March and April. Indianapolis was already scheduled to host the Men’s Final Four from April 3 to 5, 2021.
Mitch Barnhart, chairman of the Men’s Basketball Committee and director of athletics at the University of Kentucky, explained: “My colleagues on the committee and I did not lightly make the difficult decision to relocate the preliminary rounds of the 2021 tournament, so we understand the disappointment. Communities will miss being part of March Madness ”.
He added: “With the University of Kentucky scheduled to host the first and second round games in March, this is something that directly impacts our school, so we certainly share the frustration. The committee and teams deeply appreciate the efforts of all host institutions and conferences. And, we look forward to bringing the tournament back in the years to come ”.
NCCA recognizes that single headquarters facilitates creation of “controlled environment”
As such, the organization reinforced the need to keep the tournament in a single area to limit travel in order to create a safe and controlled environment for athletes and other professionals involved. Dan Gavitt, senior vice president for basketball at the NCAA, also spoke.
“We have learned a lot by monitoring other successful sporting events in recent months, and it became clear that it is not feasible to manage this championship in so many states with the challenges presented by the pandemic. However, we are developing a solid plan to set up a responsible and fantastic tournament, unlike any other ”, said Gavitt.
NCAA President Mark Emmert said that “the committee and the teams carefully monitored the pandemic to develop potential contingency plans.”
According to Emmert, “the priorities are to protect the health and well-being of university athletes and, at the same time, maintain their opportunity to compete at the highest level. These principles guided the decision-making process as we continue to assess how to have a fair and safe championship experience. ”
Betting industry celebrated confirmation of ‘March Madness 2021’
Also according to SBC Notícias, the option to centralize the tournament may frustrate some cities, but it pleased companies in the sports betting sector.
Since the cancellation of March Madness 2020 due to the worsening pandemic in the country generated estimated losses of $ 8.5 billion in bets.