“This is a historic moment for NCAA members and the state of Indiana,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert in a statement. “We have worked tirelessly to redefine a tournament structure that will retain our unique championship opportunity for college athletes. The reality of today’s announcement was made possible thanks to the tremendous leadership of our members, local authorities and staff. “
Six venues will host games: Lucas Oil Stadium, the NFL stadium where the Final Four was to be played; Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers; Hinkle Fieldhouse, Butler University’s historic arena; Indiana Farmers Coliseum on the State Fairgrounds, a 6,500-seat venue where the IUPUI basketball teams play; Mackey Arena on the Purdue University campus in West Lafayette, about 70 miles northwest of Indianapolis; and Assembly Hall at Indiana University in Bloomington, about 50 miles southwest of Indianapolis.
The Lucas Oil Stadium will have two courts with only one game played at a time. The NCAA said the majority of the games will be held in Indianapolis. The teams train in several places in the Indiana Convention Center.
The NCAA has partnered with a local health care provider to conduct coronavirus testing on site. Most teams stay in hotels that are connected to the convention center via skywalks, with each team staying on its own floor. It is not yet known whether fans will be allowed to participate in games, although a “limited number” of family members will be admitted to the stadiums by players and coaches.
Indianapolis has hosted the Men’s Final Four seven times and will do so this season. The 12 other planned locations for the earlier rounds of this year’s tournament will host again in later years, according to the NCAA.
Selection Sunday is scheduled for March 14th, although the NCAA said the dates for the preliminary round matches have not yet been set. It hopes to play the Final Four games on April 3rd and the national championship game two days later.
“The 2021 version of March Madness will be one to remember, if for no other reason than the uniqueness of the event,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball. “With the leadership of the men’s basketball committee we are taking advantage of the circumstances brought about by the global pandemic. We are fortunate to have neighbors and partners in Indianapolis and the surrounding communities who not only love the game of basketball as much as everyone else in the country, but also have a long history of hosting major sporting events.
“It’s going to be complicated and difficult. There is no question about that. We appreciate the collaboration between the basketball committee and the men’s staff, our hosts and local organizers, the staff at each practice and competition site, and our broadcasting and corporate partners. We’re all going to pull together and have a great national championship. “