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NCAA Tournament to relocate March Madness to a single site in 2021

We don’t even have full schedules for most college basketball teams, but those that qualify for the NCAA Tournament will all be in one location next March.

The exterior of the NCAA Hall of Champions on September 17, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images

The NCAA has chosen to take any ambiguity out of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship early, deciding that all of the 68-team March Madness will take place in a single location next season, and it’s looking like the planned 2021 Final Four host Indianapolis is the lead spot to take it.

The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee announced today the relocation of 13 predetermined preliminary round sites for the 2021 Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.

In recent weeks, the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee has engaged in a thorough contingency planning process to determine the most effective way to conduct a safe and healthy March Madness for all participants for the 2021 championship. Through these discussions, it became apparent to the committee that conducting the championship at 13 preliminary round sites spread throughout the country would be very difficult to execute in the current pandemic environment. The committee has decided the championship should be held in a single geographic area to enhance the safety and well-being of the event.

As a result, NCAA staff are in preliminary talks with the State of Indiana and the city of Indianapolis to potentially host the 68-team tournament around the metropolitan area during the coordinated dates in March and April. Indianapolis was already slated to host the Men’s Final Four from April 3-5, 2021.

The Big Dance drives over 90% of the revenue the NCAA generates annually, and the cancelation of the 2020 event had downstream effects still being felt by both the governing body as well as the schools they represent. Getting out in front of this now make

Keeping the event in Indianapolis makes sense, as the headquarters of the NCAA is there, and the city has shown an ability to host major events consistently. Lucas Oil Stadium was already scheduled to host the 2021 Final Four, Bankers Life Fieldhouse is the home of the Indiana Pacers, and venues such as the iconic Hinkle Fieldhouse would make excellent places to host college basketball’s biggest event.