Indianapolis will be the headquarters for all things March Madness in 2021.
The NCAA announced on Monday that the city of Indianapolis will be the site of the entire 2021 men’s basketball tournament. Ball State, Butler, the Horizon League, Indiana, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Purdue will host the tournament, and will provide their staff and facilities to help with tournament operations. The Indiana Convention Center will be used as a practice facility.
“This is a historic moment for NCAA members and the state of Indiana,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement. “We have worked tirelessly to reimagine a tournament structure that maintains our unique championship opportunity for college athletes. The reality of today’s announcement was possible thanks to the tremendous leadership of our membership, local authorities and staff.”
Adapting for the pandemic
After the 2020 tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NCAA officials reimagined the 2021 tournament and adapted it for the COVID-19 landscape. They determined that it would be safer for the entire tournament to take place in one geographic area instead of numerous cities, and announced in mid-November that they were in talks with the city of Indianapolis to host. Indy had already agreed to host the 2021 Final Four, but will now host the entire 68-team tournament.
It has been reported that the NCAA will establish a bubble in Indianapolis, but that was not part of Monday’s announcement. However, the NCAA did announce that all teams will be staying in a hotel that’s “within a controlled environment” and connected to the Indiana Convention Center by a skywalk. The NCAA will be also be providing “secure transportation” to and from the venues.
The NCAA announced in December that the 2021 women’s basketball tournament will also be held in just one city. The NCAA is in talks with the city of San Antonio, which is hosting the women’s Final Four, to host the entire tournament, but no official announcement has been made.
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