College basketball fans will be able to see the Final Four live. On Friday, the NCAA announced it will allow a limited number of fans to attend every round of the 2021 men's NCAA tournament. The entire tournament is taking place in Indianapolis, and there will be up to 25% capacity with physical distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We continue to use the knowledge we have gained over the season on how to conduct games in a safe environment,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a press release. “I want to thank our host universities and conferences, the Indiana State Health Department, and the leaders in the Marion, Monroe and Tippecanoe county health departments as they help make that possible.”
The event capacity will include the participants, essential staff and family members of each participating team’s student-athletes and coaches and a reduced number of fans. Everyone in attendance will be required to wear masks and thorough cleaning, disinfecting and safety measures will be a priority.
"The number one priority for decisions around the tournament continues to be the safety and well-being of everyone participating in the event,” NCAA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Hainline said. “We have been in regular conversations with the NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group and local health officials to make sure we have the right protocols in place to provide a safe environment. Additionally, IU Health is providing critical testing and monitoring services enabling us to safely conduct the tournament.”
In November, it was announced the entire NCAA tournament will be played in a single location instead of multiple places across the country. It was then announced in January the tournament will take place in Indiana. Selection Sunday will be on March 14, and the tournament will begin on March 18 with the First Four. The first round will start on March 19, and the Final Four, which will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium, will start on April 3.
"This is a historic moment for NCAA members and the state of Indiana,” Emmert said in January. "We have worked tirelessly to reimagine a tournament structure that maintains our unique championship opportunity for college athletes. The reality of today’s announcement was possible thanks to the tremendous leadership of our membership, local authorities and staff."