The NCAA announced on Thursday how they’ll handle teams that are unable to participate or proceed due to COVID-19 during the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
Here’s the TL/DR/basic principles if reading press releases isn’t your thing:
- For conferences with a team that qualifies via an automatic bid, they will be able to replace that team if they are unable to participate.
- The last four teams left out of the at-large pool will be designated as replacement teams, and can step into slots if needed before the tournament begins. Those teams will be ranked 1-4, and will replace any team that can’t participate.
- The replacement teams will not travel to Indiana (where all tournament games will be played) unless needed, and will stay on-campus with testing. If they’re not needed in the NCAA Tournament, they’ll be No. 1 seeds in the NIT.
- Once the bracket is announced on Selection Sunday, teams will not be reseeded and the bracket won’t change. Conferences can then replace their automatic qualifier until Tuesday, March 16, at 6 p.m. Eastern time.
You can read all the nitty-gritty details here, but these policies do make sense considering they’re attempting to hold one of the biggest events in American sports during a pandemic. Keeping the teams on campuses helps, and the students can practice and miss Spring Break knowing they’ll either be in the NCAA Tournament or the NIT.
Also: Today we learned the NIT is still happening. We know there’s no CIT, but are we getting a CBI as well?