The NCAA will allow a limited number of fans to attend all rounds of its men’s basketball tournament in Indiana.
The governing body said it is permitting 25% capacity at the men’s tournament venues to allow for social distancing. That figure will include all participants and essential staff along with the family members of team players and coaches.
Attendees must wear face coverings. Cleaning and disinfecting efforts will also be emphasized at venues in keeping with COVID-19 safety protocols. The NCAA said it acted in conjunction with local health officials for each tournament.
NCAA chief medical officer Brian Hainline said the decision followed conversations with the organization’s medical advisory group and will rely on testing and monitoring services from the Indiana University Health system.
“The No. 1 priority for decisions around the tournament continues to be the safety and well-being of everyone participating in the event,” Hainline said.
The NCAA had previously announced the 68-team tournament will be played entirely in Indiana because of the pandemic. Most games will be played in Indianapolis. The tournament will begin with the First Four games on March 18 at home arenas for Big Ten Conference schools Purdue and Indiana. Those venues are located about a one-hour drive – in opposite directions – from downtown Indianapolis.
At Indiana, the school said it would allow up to 500 fans for tournament games at Assembly Hall, with some seats reserved for local medical workers and first responders who have been vaccinated.
The Final Four takes place in Indianapolis on April 3. The national championship game follows two days later.