Even after the NCAA said Feb. 19 that some spectators will be allowed at the games, local tourism officials and economists are still tempering their financial expectations.
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Under a contingency plan released Thursday, the top four teams left out of March Madness will serve as potential replacements for any teams that are unable to participate due to COVID-19 issues.
Wednesday’s report card from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport looked at racial hiring and gender hiring for the 2019-20 season across college sports, including leadership at the Indianapolis-based NCAA headquarters.
You can also pre-register for IBJ’s NCAA bracket contest, where you can try to out-pick a number of local celebrities we’ll unveil in the coming weeks (including IBJ’s own “celebrities”—think Eight@8’s Mason King and CEO Nate Feltman).
With the entire tournament taking place in or near Indianapolis, there is no reason for the four geographic regions that have been a part of past NCAA brackets. The NCAA doesn’t have to ensure the best teams play closer to home.
The pandemic that landed March Madness in Indianapolis is also the complication that will strip some of the tournament’s ambience, but local officials are organizing safe activities.
President-elect Jose Padilla will oversee a committee that will consider adopting a new team name and mascot for the 3,100-student, Lutheran school in northwest Indiana.
Dr. Virginia Caine, executive director of the health department, said she expects the NCAA to formalize a request regarding fans “within the next one to two weeks,” and indicated recent data related to positive tests and hospitalizations is promising.
Local officials are scheduling neighborhood cleanups, public art initiatives and a slew of other efforts to help the city put its best foot forward when March Madness takes over downtown next month.
EA Sports announced Tuesday that it is bringing back its college football video game series, a beloved franchise that was discontinued in 2013 after EA and the Indianapolis-based NCAA were taken to court over the unpaid use of player likenesses.
The Indianapolis-based National Collegiate Athletic Association saw revenue fall by more than 50% in its latest fiscal year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but was able to minimize the damage thanks to its financial contingency plan, the organization said.
When Indy last hosted the Final Four in 2015, five state teams were invited to the tournament. When the RCA Dome was the site in 2000, there were six.
NCAA President Mark Emmert’s remarks came during his state of college athletics address at the NCAA’s annual convention, which is being held virtually this week because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hosting the entire 68-team NCAA men’s basketball tournament is likely to be a landmark event for Indianapolis and another boon for the city’s hospitality efforts, industry observers say.
Nearly all of downtown’s nearly 7,600 hotel rooms could be used for the tournament, as well as additional hotels in other parts of the city as well.
Some protocols are already set, including requirements for travel to Marion County and how teams will manage their operations throughout the tournament.
The organization said it is “closely monitoring” the pandemic and will continue evaluating the feasibility of some fan attendance at some of the games.
The 67-game tournament will be held at venues across central Indiana in March and April, according to a source familiar with the plans.
Consider the dramatic turns experienced by Butler and the Colts, Pacers and Fever.