College basketball was forced to take a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic but one year later, March Madness is finally back. The men’s tournament tips off on Thursday, March 18 and the women’s tournament begins on Sunday, March 21. See below to find out the COVID-19 protocols for the 2021 NCAA tournaments.
What are the COVID-19 protocols for the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments?
According to the NCAA, all Tier 1 participants (student-athletes, coaches, athletic trainers, physical therapists, medical staff, equipment staff, and officials) will be required to have seven consecutive negative COVID-19 tests prior to arrival. They will then be tested upon arrival and throughout the duration of the tournament.
All teams participating will be housed in designated hotels for the duration of their active participation in the tournament. Meals will either be in-room or in physically distanced meal rooms with assigned seating.
All Tier 1 participants will be required to wear masks at all times with the exception of being alone in the hotel room, pre-arranged and approved mealtimes, practice, and competition time on the court.
Click here for the NCAA’s contingency plans for tournament teams forced to withdraw due to issues related to COVID-19.
Will fans be allowed to attend the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments?
The NCAA men’s tournament will allow 25 percent capacity for games. This includes players, coaches, essential staff, and family members of players and coaches.
However, for the NCAA women’s tournament, a capacity of up to 17% will be allowed to attend starting from the Sweet Sixteen through the Women’s Final Four. For first and second-round games, attendance will be limited to team players and guests, with each member of the 34-member official team travel party allowed up to six tickets for guests.