INDIANAPOLIS – The entire men’s March Madness tournament will be played at several sites around Indiana this year.
The NCAA confirmed that venues in Indianapolis, Bloomington and West Lafayette will host the 2021 event. Typically, the NCAA holds the tournament in several different cities around the country.
However, given the pandemic, the NCAA decided to take a “bubble” approach this year. Indianapolis was already scheduled to host the 2021 Final Four at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Word of a possible deal that would bring the tournament to Indianapolis first came to light in November, when the NCAA said it was in “preliminary talks” with the city and state.
Selection Sunday is set for March 14, with plans calling for the Final Four on April 3 and April 5. Preliminary dates for the earlier rounds have not been finalized.
“This is a historic moment for NCAA members and the state of Indiana,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “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.”
The tournament will be hosted by Ball State University, Butler University, the Horizon League, Indiana University, IUPUI and Purdue University, which are helping with tournament operations.
Games will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Mackey Arena in West Lafayette and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington.
The NCAA is partnering with a local health provider to administer coronavirus tests and provide a controlled environment for players, coaching staffs, administrations and officials. The Marion County Public Health Department has approved the NCAA’s health and safety plan.
“The 2021 version of March Madness will be one to remember, if for no other reason than the uniqueness of the event,” said NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt. “With the direction of the men’s basketball committee, we are making the most of the circumstances the global pandemic has presented. We’re fortunate to have neighbors and partners in Indianapolis and surrounding communities who not only love the game of basketball as much as anyone else in the country but have a storied history when it comes to staging major sporting events.
The event will include 67 games. CBS Sports and Turner Sports will air the games on TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV, as well as digital platforms.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb gave the following statement Monday regarding the NCAA’s decision:
Indiana is a basketball state, and we’re beyond excited to safely host the 2021 NCAA men’s Division I, II and III basketball championships here. Games will take place around the state – from Evansville to Indianapolis and from West Lafayette to Fort Wayne. With our deep commitment to public health, strong infrastructure and historic facilities, I have no doubt that this year’s tournaments will be among the best we’ve ever seen.