NCAA to allow limited fans for March Madness

The NCAA will allow limited fans at this year’s March Madness after the college basketball tournament was canceled last year amid the burgeoning coronavirus pandemic.

Arenas will be allowed up to 25 percent capacity with masks and social distancing required, the NCAA announced on Friday. The 25 percent limit will include players, coaches and family members.

“We continue to use the knowledge we have gained over the season on how to conduct games in a safe environment,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “I want to thank our host universities and conferences, the Indiana State Health Department, and the leaders in the Marion, Monroe and Tippecanoe county health departments as they help make that possible.”

The tournament will mostly be held in Indianapolis, Ind., with some games taking place outside the city. All venues will be cleaned and disinfected repeatedly throughout the games.

Ticket sales for the 67 games begin March 1. The number of fans allowed at each will vary since some arenas are larger than others.

“This year’s tournament will be like no other, and while we know it won’t be the same for anyone, we are looking forward to providing a memorable experience for the student-athletes, coaches and fans at a once-in-a-lifetime tournament,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball. “After the cancellation of the 2020 tournament, we are happy to welcome some fans back to all rounds of the Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.”