With input from the Marion County Public Health Department, the NCAA unveiled the COVID-19 health and safety protocols to be used during the 2021 Division I men’s basketball tournament.
• Participants undergoing and documenting seven straight negative COVID-19 tests prior to arriving in Indianapolis for Tier 1 participants, which include student-athletes, coaches, athletic trainers, physical therapists, medical staff, equipment staff and officials.
• Other than practices and competitions, all Tier 1 participants will observe physical distancing and universal masking at all times. Exceptions are while alone in the hotel room or during pre-arranged and approved mealtime.
• All Tier 1 participants will wear KINEXON movement devices throughout the tournament, including practices and games. These devices, used effectively inside the NBA bubble last summer, help provide contact tracing data, including time measurement of those who are within six feet of someone newly-infected by COVID-19. The data will be utilized to assist with contact tracing and the need to quarantine participants. If close contact time with another individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 is less than 15 minutes over 24 hours, then quarantine may not be required.
• With a field of 68 teams, the NCAA has reserved close to 2,400 hotel rooms for all players, coaches and support staff. They will be housed in four Indianapolis hotels adjacent to the Indiana Convention Center. The NCAA will arrange charter bus and/or air travel for all Tier 1 participants and work with IU Health to provide health related support including the administration of daily PCR tests for Tier 1 individuals upon arrival and throughout the tournament.
• A final attendance policy will be released Feb. 1. For now, up to six family members per Tier 1 participant (up to 420 family members total) will be allowed in each venue per game. The family members will be prohibited from interacting in person with any of the Tier 1 participants during the entire tournament. They will be seated in physically distanced family clusters.
The NCAA announced earlier this week it will hold the entire NCAA Tournament in Indiana, culminating with the Final Four at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on April 3-5. Six sites will be used throughout the state: Lucas Oil Stadium, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmer’s Coliseum, Mackey Arena and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.