Attendance of 25% capacity allowed for Basketball Championships

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Patrick Murphy

NIU junior guard Darius Beane, second from left, attempts a close jumpsuit off the dribble Jan. 2, during NIU’s 68-42 loss to Bowling Green State University at the NIU Convocation Center in DeKalb. Beane would hit the game winning-shot in the game against the University of Akron Zips Tuesday.

Wes Sanderson, Editor-in-Chief

DeKALB — The NCAA announced Friday that the league would be allowing attendance up to 25% capacity for the 2021 Division 1 Men’s Basketball Championships. 

The capacity limit will include all participants, essential staff, family members and a reduced number of fans, according to a news release from the NCAA Friday.

All those attending games must abide by social distancing guidelines and wear a face covering throughout the event.

The decision to open venue doors comes after the D1 council elected to stage the entire NCAA Tournament in Indiana, with a majority of the 67 games being played in various arenas around Indianapolis, which is set to host the Final Four and National Championship game.

For most teams who will be making the trek to the Hoosier state, this will be the first time this season they have had an audience to compete in front of, but the biggest objective of the NCAA still remains its players safety.

“The number one priority for decisions around the tournament continues to be the safety and well-being of everyone participating in the event,” NCAA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Hainline said in a Friday news release. “We have been in regular conversations with NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group and local health officials to make sure we have the right protocols in place.” 

The capacity limits will vary based on the size of the host venue, and will be evaluated as needed according to the release.

The tournament is set to begin March 18 with the round of 64. The tournament will be hosted by Ball State University, Butler University, the Horizon League, the University of Indiana, Indiana University–Purdue and Purdue University, who are all providing facility space for games to be hosted. 

The Final Four will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 3 with the national champion being crowned April 5. Information regarding ticket opportunities will be available after March 1.