2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament to Be Held in Indiana; Dates Revealed

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2020, file photo, NCAA President Mark Emmert testifies during a Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing on intercollegiate athlete compensation on Capitol Hill in Washington. NCAA President Mark Emmert hopes lessons learned through navigating the pandemic will lead college sports leaders to be more open-minded to future reforms and to prioritize opportunities for athletes when it comes time to cut costs. In a 25-minute phone interview Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020 with The Associated Press, Emmert said the NCAA and its members schools have shown an uncommon ability to be nimble and responsive in addressing issues of eligibility, scheduling, recruiting, transfers, and conducting championship events.. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Susan Walsh/Associated Press

The 2021 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament will be played entirely in a "bubble" format in Indianapolis and surrounding areas, the NCAA announced Monday.

The NCAA also announced (h/t Stadium) that Selection Sunday will take place on March 14 and that the Final Four will be held on April 3, with the championship game being held on April 5.

Matt Norlander of CBS Sports was the first to report the news. 

College sports' governing body had been exploring potential bubble options for the 2021 tournament amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with Indianapolis long serving as the front-runner. Indy had been scheduled to host the 2021 Final Four and is the location of the NCAA's headquarters.

The 2021 Division I women's college basketball tournament will also be held at a single site, likely in San Antonio.

The 2020 men's and women's basketball tournaments were canceled at the beginning of the pandemic in the United States last March. It was the first time in the 81-year history of the men's tournament that no champion was crowned.

Much like the college football season, college basketball has been riddled with COVID-19 issues since the 2020-21 season began. Games have been canceled or postponed on a near-daily basis as teams struggle to field full lineups because of positive tests or close contacts. Some programs have chosen to forgo the season altogether.

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Because college athletes are not considered employees, teams are unable to restrict their off-court activities in a similar manner to professional sports. Players are subject to essentially the same rules as every other student on campus, which has led to a higher rate of infection and less ability to control the spread.

Other sports leagues have shown that "bubbling" players in one area is the best and safest way to hold an event without interruption or the risk of the coronavirus spreading.