NCAA 'hopeful and optimistic' about allowing limited fans for March Madness
March Madness is quickly approaching as the college basketball season winds down, and it’s probably one of the most anticipated tournaments in history. It’s not so much the quality of the teams playing this year, but restoring a tradition that was taken from fans last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NCAA is planning to move forward with the tournament this year, playing the entire event from the state of Indiana. Multiple college and professional venues will be used to host teams and play games in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 and minimize the number of positive tests.
One big question that still hasn’t been answered yet is whether or not fans will be allowed to attend games at this year’s event. Speaking with the Great Columbus Sports Commission’s Virtual Sports Report this week, NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said no final decision has been made at this time.
However, there is hope and optimism about allowing some fans.
“We’re poised to make an announcement here in the next several days about fan attendance, and we’re hopeful and optimistic that we may have limited attendance for general fans, but up to and no more than 25%,” Gavitt said, per Eleven Warriors. “And that would be a maximum, if we get there, based on the size of the six difference venues we’re using in Indianapolis. So in many cases, we won’t even come close to 25% by keeping that six feet of physical distancing needed in each of the venues. But maybe by the time we get to Lucas Oil Stadium, a much larger venue, we may have slightly closer to 20-25% capacity.”
The sites for this year’s NCAA tournament include: Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis Colts), Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indiana Pacers), Hinkle Fieldhouse (Butler Bulldogs), Farmers Coliseum (IUPUI), Assembly Hall (Indiana Hoosiers), Mackey Arena (Purdue Boilermakers).
If necessary, the NCAA has back-up venues of Worthen Arena (Ball State) and Hulman Center (Indiana State).