- Six referees for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament were dismissed after one tested positive for COVID-19.
- All participants will be in a bubble in Indianapolis, similar to how the NBA did in Orlando.
- Players will be tested daily.
INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will have strict COVID-19 protocols to ensure the event can run smoothly.
The entire tournament will be held in a bubble in Indianapolis, with all teams staying within the bubble and being tested on a daily basis.
The strict protocols are put in place to avoid any interruption to the tournament, so March Madness betting fans can safely assume that their wagers will be played out with no cancelations.
COVID And March Madness
Dear college sports,
You bring out the best in us. So when we look forward, we see the light at the end of the tunnel. pic.twitter.com/Z6rATCaonY
— NCAA (@NCAA) March 15, 2021
The strict procedures are not waiting until the tournament kicks off before being implemented, however, as the NCAA recently sent home six referees following one positive test.
“The NCAA has replaced several officials for March Madness because of a positive COVID-19 test,” said the NCAA in a statement. “One official tested positive on March 15, and five other officials the person interacted with the day before were identified as exposure risks due to prolonged close contact. Based on tournament protocols and contract tracing with local public health authorities, these officials may not participate in the tournament. The infected official must be placed in isolation, and the other officials must be placed in quarantine.”
While only one official tested positive, since the referees have all been in contact with one another, the league opted the safest decision was to send them all home due to contact tracing.
Should any team that is in the tournament have positive tests prior to entering the bubble, they will be removed and replaced by the team with the next best record to qualify.
Multiple teams have also been eliminated due to COVID-19 tests. UVA for example suffered from positive tests, preventing them from continuing in the ACC Tournament.
“We went from an exhilarating game-winning shot to beat Syracuse to a gut punch regarding the positive COVID-19 test within our program,” said Tony Bennett, UVA head coach. “I’m hurting for our players, especially our seniors. I told our young men they have every reason to be disappointed, but it is still very important how they choose to respond. We are exhausting all options to participate in the NCAA Tournament.”
Constant Testing In The Bubble
Once players are inside the bubble there will be no contact outside during the run time of the tournament. No fans will be in attendance, and only players, coaches, and essential personnel will be allowed don the facility and courts.
Per the NCAA COVID-19 rules, everyone inside the bubble will receive rapid testing on a daily basis. This is to ensure there has been no breach in the bubble.
No visitors will be allowed to enter the bubble due to fear of contact tracing, and losing teams will have to immediately leave the bubble.
With the protocols put in place, college basketball betting should be able to proceed with no interruptions.
Coming from a background in narrative-based writing, Giovanni strives to write stories that will keep the reader engaged. Although he does pride himself in being accurate, how the story is told is also very important to him. When he’s not keeping readers up to date on sports betting laws and legislation, you can find him writing and recording music, playing videogames, or engaged in heated sports debates with his friends.