The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is coming to Indianapolis in March, and it will not just be the final four like usual. On Jan. 4, the NCAA announced that the tournament will be played entirely in the greater Indianapolis area due to COVID-19.

     “Our emphasis is on the safety and well-being of everyone participating in the event,” NCAA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brain Hainline said in a press release.

     The NCAA has been working hard along with the Marion County Public Health Department to make sure that everyone coming to the event is safe and remains safe while participating.

     The NCAA is partnering with the Marion County Public Health Department and has formalized the COVID-19 health and safety protocols that will be used during the 2021 Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, including all rounds of the tournament, according to a press release by the NCAA.

     The NCAA is doing everything they can to keep things as normal as possible as to the schedule of when games will be played. They hope that the use of many different stadiums in Indiana will help them reach that goal.

     “The 2021 March Madness schedule is primarily a function of the health and safety protocols for all participants, respecting conference tournaments, balancing time away from campus for college student-athletes, competitive considerations for a national championship and fan engagement during a relatively traditional tournament timetable,” NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt said in a press release.

     All participants will be required to have seven straight negative tests in order to participate. Everybody is hoping that with safety protocols like these, the tournament will run quite smooth and the fans can enjoy a tournament this year.

     The NCAA Tournament will tip off with the First Four games on Thursday, March 18, setting a stage for a March Madness unlike any other in the 82 years of the event, according to a press release by the NCAA.