Indianapolis was already set to host the Final Four in 2021 -- now the city will get the whole NCAA tournament.
The NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee announced Monday that it will move all games to Indiana in hopes of better managing the event during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"My committee colleagues and I did not come lightly to the difficult decision to relocate the preliminary rounds of the 2021 tournament, as we understand the disappointment 13 communities will feel to miss out on being part of March Madness next year," said Mitch Barnhart, chair of the Division I Men's Basketball Committee and University of Kentucky athletics director. "With the University of Kentucky slated to host first- and second-round games in March, this is something that directly impacts our school and community, so we certainly share in their regret. The committee and staff deeply appreciate the efforts of all the host institutions and conferences, and we look forward to bringing the tournament back to the impacted sites in future years."
The Triangle is also affected financially as Raleigh was supposed to be one of the eight first-round sites.
The NCAA said that In recent weeks, it became clear that "conducting the championship at 13 preliminary round sites spread throughout the country would be very difficult to execute in the current pandemic environment."
The NCAA said it is in talks to potentially host the 68-team tournament around the Indianapolis metropolitan area in March and April. The Final Four is set for April 3-5.
"We have learned so much from monitoring other successful sporting events in the last several months, and it became clear it's not feasible to manage this complex championship in so many different states with the challenges presented by the pandemic," said Dan Gavitt, NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball. "However, we are developing a solid plan to present a safe, responsible and fantastic March Madness tournament unlike any other we've experienced."
The NCAA canceled the 2020 men's and women's basketball tournaments because of the spread of the novel coronavirus, putting an abrupt end to the season less than a month before champions were to be crowned.