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NCAA Announces New Health and Safety Protocols for 2021 NCAA Tournament

Adam WellsJanuary 7, 2021

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The NCAA has finalized health and safety protocols for the 2021 men's basketball tournament. 

Per an official announcement from the NCAA (via ESPN's Jeff Borzello), all student-athletes, coaches, trainers, physical therapists, medical and equipment staff, and officials must return seven consecutive negative COVID-19 tests before they arrive at the tournament site. 

Those individuals will also undergo daily PCR testing for as long as their team is in the tournament. 

There are exceptions for Tier-1 individuals who either tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days or are "at least two weeks removed" from having received the coronavirus vaccine: 

"Tier 1 individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days, are at least two weeks post-infection and are asymptomatic will not be required to undergo daily testing, nor will individuals who are at least two weeks removed from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

"All Tier 1 participants will also be required to wear KINEXON movement devices during the tournament, including at practices and games, to assist with contact tracing and quarantining."

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NCAA president Mark Emmert announced on Monday this year's tournament will be held entirely in the state of Indiana. 

“This is a historic moment for NCAA members and the state of Indiana. 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.”

Ball State, Butler, the Horizon League, Indiana, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Purdue are all loaning their facilities out to host the 68-team tournament. 

The Final Four and national championship game were already scheduled to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. 

Borzello noted that fan attendance for the tournament is expected to be limited to six family members per Tier-1 individual, with a maximum capacity of 420. The NCAA will finalize an attendance plan after Feb. 1. 

The 2021 men's basketball tournament is scheduled to begin on March 16 and run through April 5.

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