INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The The NCAA will allow a limited number of fans to compete in all rounds of the men’s basketball tournament in Indiana next month.
The governing body said Friday it would allow 25% capacity at the venues to enable social distancing. This number includes all participants and essential employees as well as the family members of team players and coaches.
Attendees are required to wear face coverings and cleaning and disinfection efforts will be emphasized at the venues as per COVID-19 safety protocols.
The NCAA said in its statement it acted in partnership with state and local health officials. Brian Hainline, NCAA’s chief medical officer, said the decision was also a result of discussions with the organization’s medical advisory group and would rely on testing and monitoring services from the Indiana University health system.
“The # 1 priority for tournament-related decisions remains the safety and wellbeing of all participants in the event,” said Hainline.
The NCAA had previously announced that due to the pandemic, the 68-man tournament would be held entirely in Indiana, with most of the games taking place in Indianapolis. The tournament begins with the first four games on March 18 in the home arenas of the Big Ten Conference schools in Purdue and Indiana. The venues are approximately an hour’s drive – in opposite directions – from downtown Indianapolis.
In Indiana, the school announced that it would allow up to 500 fans to play tournament games in the assembly hall. Some places are reserved for local medical workers and vaccinated first aiders.
The Final Four will take place in Indianapolis on April 3rd. The national championship game follows two days later.
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