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NCAA Tournament Teams Won't Be Replaced If Forced to Withdraw Due to COVID-19

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 25, 2021

A chair with a logo is seen before a first round men's college basketball game between Minnesota and Louisville in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 21, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

The NCAA is not going to replace any team in the Division I men's or women's basketball tournaments that might be forced to withdraw because of COVID-19 issues after the events begin. 

Per David Worlock of NCAA.org, the NCAA Division I men's and women's basketball committees announced plans in the event that a team has to withdraw. 

The organization's determination noted "reasonable efforts will be made to ensure a full field is in place before the start of the championship. No replacement teams will be introduced after the championship begins."

There is still a possibility that replacement teams could receive a tournament invitation, but it will only happen before the event begins. 

"Replacement teams will only be introduced into the championship within 48 hours after the announcement of the field, and at no time thereafter," Worlock wrote.

Worlock also noted the NCAA will not reseed teams, nor will the tournament bracket be changed once it's finalized and released. 

The NCAA has taken steps to reduce the amount of travel that teams will have to do during the tournament in an attempt to decrease the risk of a potential coronavirus outbreak.

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The men's event will be held in the Indianapolis area starting March 18. Teams included in the 68-team field will arrive in Indianapolis on March 13 and 14, based on the NCAA's travel protocols established for the tournament. 

The women's tournament is taking place in and around San Antonio, Texas, starting March 21. The 64-team field will be announced March 15, with teams arriving in the city on March 16 and 17. 

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