NCAA may consider single site for part of future college basketball tournaments

Baylor players and coaches celebrate after the championship game against Gonzaga in the men's Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Baylor won 86-70. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

The NCAA used the single-site concept for its marquee championship out of necessity. Now it could become part of the tournament’s future.

Posted: Apr 7, 2021 1:37 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA used the single-site concept for its marquee championship out of necessity.

Now it could become part of the tournament’s future.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK

SIGN UP: Breaking News, Daily News Updates & More

A day after crowning a national champion for the first time since 2019, NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt told reporters that the successful men’s college basketball tournament held primarily in Indianapolis and exclusively in Indiana could create a late-round model for future tourneys.

“If it’s the desire of the committee and the membership to consider something along these lines for the future, I think we would give it significant consideration,” he said Tuesday on a video call. “I would hesitate to say, though, I don’t think a 68-team single site, short of another pandemic, would be something we would have great interest in. However, once you get down to a fewer amount of teams, say the Sweet 16 and on, having teams in the same location may provide some opportunities the membership, coaches and all would want to consider for the future.”

Whatever happens, it won’t be anytime soon — at least not by choice.

The NCAA already has awarded preliminary round games through 2026 and intends to play those games as scheduled, something it couldn’t do this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic that forced everyone to rethink how they could safely host games a year after the tournament was scrapped.

Players, coaches and staff members were tested daily for the coronavirus throughout the three-week event. Seating capacity was capped at 25% in the six playing venues.

Fans were required to wear masks and those in the closest contact with teams, deemed Tier 1 personnel, essentially lived in an NCAA version of a bubble.

By almost any measure, the protocols worked.

Gavitt said there were 15 positive tests among the 28,311 conducted. The 66 games drew 173,592 fans, including nearly 8,000 Monday at Lucas Oil Stadium, where they watched Baylor end Gonzaga’s perfect season with an 86-70 victory.

And though the television ratings for the Final Four were down from 2019, according to Sports Business Journal, the UCLA-Gonzaga game drew nearly 15 million viewers and was not only the most-watched program Saturday night but also the most watched non-football game since the pandemic began.

Sure, there were obstacles.

Six referees were sent home before the first game because one tested positive.

Another ref, Bert Smith, was wheeled off the court during a Sweet 16 game after collapsing from a medical issue unrelated to COVID-19.

Alabama student Luke Ratliff, 23, died after a brief illness just several days after he had attended a game at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Ratliff’s death prompted Indiana health officials to investigate whether anyone had been exposed to COVID-19 by Alabama residents.

A coronavirus outbreak among employees at St. Elmo’s forced the popular local restaurant to close and created consternation initially inside NCAA offices.

“We did get notification that the staff putting together the takeout meals was not involved,” Gavitt said. “But that’s why we had all these things in place. I think we had over 3,500 meals delivered into a controlled environment and none of those meals were directly touched by anyone who was being tested. I think the contactless portion of the plan was very important.”

But ultimately what mattered most was that only one game, UCLA-VCU, was canceled and Baylor won the title just a short walk away from the governing body’s headquarters in a city that is likely to find itself at the center of future tourneys, too, and as the NCAA’s top backup option.

Or perhaps as a single-site city again.

“Knowing what we were able to pull off here in such a short amount of time, I think gives me and the NCAA staff incredible confidence that we have minimally an incredible backup plan if we’re presented with a challenge and have to to shift,” Gavitt said. “I think it will only lead to more opportunities for NCAA championships and other NCAA activities and events that we know will work so well in this convention center and surrounding facilities.”

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 704632

Reported Deaths: 13211
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion961411718
Lake51322943
Allen39040670
Hamilton34368405
St. Joseph33865539
Elkhart27197431
Vanderburgh22050394
Tippecanoe21725212
Johnson17475374
Porter17240298
Hendricks16754310
Clark12663190
Madison12321337
Vigo12172244
Monroe11417166
LaPorte10841204
Delaware10325184
Howard9629211
Kosciusko9098113
Hancock7954139
Bartholomew7867155
Warrick7680155
Floyd7543176
Wayne6887198
Grant6773171
Boone6524100
Morgan6379138
Dubois6074117
Marshall5770108
Dearborn568576
Cass5678102
Henry5569100
Noble539383
Jackson492869
Shelby478295
Lawrence4336118
Gibson427789
Harrison427570
Clinton417753
Montgomery417286
DeKalb407984
Huntington377480
Whitley376339
Miami371765
Knox365789
Steuben363357
Putnam352360
Jasper347546
Wabash347377
Adams337852
Ripley333468
Jefferson312180
White307854
Daviess289399
Wells285581
Decatur278592
Fayette277162
Greene270485
Posey268433
Scott260853
Clay253044
LaGrange252170
Randolph234680
Washington230631
Spencer227531
Jennings224747
Fountain208245
Sullivan207542
Starke202652
Owen191956
Fulton190939
Jay185829
Carroll185620
Perry179736
Orange176753
Rush170624
Vermillion165943
Franklin165635
Tipton160943
Parke144316
Blackford133331
Pike130234
Pulaski113245
Newton103034
Brown99740
Crawford97514
Benton96413
Martin82515
Warren79315
Switzerland7698
Union69710
Ohio55711
Unassigned0408

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1050112

Reported Deaths: 18991
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1219281356
Cuyahoga1067232069
Hamilton780741168
Montgomery49976996
Summit45252909
Lucas39984765
Butler37678570
Stark31385895
Lorain24111473
Warren23864293
Mahoning20869583
Lake19963362
Clermont19423229
Delaware18002130
Licking16109207
Fairfield15676197
Trumbull15553460
Medina14839259
Greene14643236
Clark13602293
Wood12733185
Portage12353196
Allen11312229
Richland11025198
Miami10525214
Muskingum8702127
Wayne8556209
Columbiana8535226
Pickaway8429121
Tuscarawas8370240
Marion8365135
Erie7554154
Hancock6694123
Ross6693146
Geauga6532146
Ashtabula6470165
Scioto6286101
Belmont5610158
Union557447
Lawrence5465102
Jefferson5303147
Huron5298114
Darke5268121
Sandusky5171120
Seneca5108120
Washington5073107
Athens500656
Auglaize475184
Mercer471184
Shelby455890
Knox4380108
Madison421559
Putnam420799
Ashland412688
Fulton409167
Defiance400896
Crawford3866101
Brown386055
Logan372876
Preble369898
Clinton360560
Ottawa356578
Highland346359
Williams324974
Champaign319257
Jackson307951
Guernsey306149
Perry289649
Fayette277348
Morrow274639
Hardin264164
Henry263566
Coshocton258857
Holmes253099
Van Wert238862
Gallia233346
Pike232931
Adams227852
Wyandot226953
Hocking208959
Carroll189147
Paulding168638
Meigs141538
Noble132837
Monroe128841
Morgan106623
Harrison105236
Vinton81414
Unassigned02
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 31°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 37°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 34°
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 31°
Lima
Partly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 39°
Cloudy skies move in for Saturday. There's a slight chance of rain during the afternoon. Highs will be slightly below average for this time of year.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events