March Madness 2021 will happen, NCAA says — maybe in Indianapolis

Mitch Barnhart, chairman of the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee and the athletic director at the University of Kentucky, said the NCAA studied other sports that have held playoffs during the pandemic before coming to the conclusion that a normal March Madness wouldn't be possible in 2021.

Because Covid-19 policy varies from city to state to national standards, Dan Gavitt, the NCAA's senior vice president of basketball, said tournament organizers thought it was best to deal with fewer government agencies.

"Trying to run an event of 68 teams, 67 games over three weeks in a safe and a responsible way really needed to be managed in a much more controlled, singular environment," Gavitt said.

Barnhart said he felt badly for the 2021 March Madness regional sites that are losing out; hosting venues are allocated years in advance.

The 2021 tournament had been set to play first- and second-round games in Providence, Boise, Detroit, Dallas, Wichita, Lexington, Raleigh and San Jose.

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), an alliance of small colleges not affiliated with the NCAA, already plays a bulk of its postseason basketball in one place.

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