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March Madness 2021: How coronavirus restrictions have impacted the play?

Sports fans breathed a sigh of relief when learning the 2021 March Madness will go ahead. Like most other walks of life, including many professional sports such as soccer, horse racing and boxing, the coronavirus outbreak and resulting restrictions wiped out the previous March Madness schedule.
It returns this year, but followers will notice several important changes that will ensure the 2021 episode is like no other we’ve seen before or likely to see again. Knowing the restrictions and rules in place to safeguard players, coaches, officials, and all concerned with staging this world-famous festival of college basketball will help you better prepare for the tip-off.
March Madness is, traditionally, extremely popular with sports bettors. Followers love to put their money where their mouth is and wager on the outcome of games and the championship outright. That’s something that won’t change in 2021. The top betting sites have released their March Madness odds and it is already stirring up interest from those eager to profit.

“2021 March Madness 2021” by Keith Birmingham is licensed under CC BY 3.0 Be prepared for widespread changes

To ensure safety and the play goes ahead the guidelines have been altered this year. It is expected these will be enforced for March Madness 2021 before we revert to previous rules, but nothing can be taken for granted in these uncertain times. The most notable rule to come into force is the NCAA will administer COVID-19 tests to all players, coaches, officials, administrators, and the medical staff.
The hosting venues have been set-up to ensure all abide by restrictions. The host venues this year will be Ball State, Butler, Horizon League, Indiana, and the Indiana University Purdue. All matches will take place at these venues, providing facilities as well as staff and volunteers to help everything run as smoothly as possible. Organising March Madness 2021 will be a mammoth effort, but it is seen as a step in the right direction for college sports. A slight move back to normality.
It’s not just the competitors that will be affected, supporters should also prepare for changes to how they follow the play. Social distancing measures will be promoted and must be followed. Masks will also be handed out for free to the public to keep spectators as safe as possible. Although masks will be given out to thousands without charge it is unlikely wearing them will be enforced to the level we’ve seen in other areas.

“March Madness 2021” by Bill Streicher is licensed under CC BY 3.0 Nervy few weeks ahead for players and fans

In addition to the above measures, the NCAA and their medical advisors will be monitoring the situation closely. Not just in the area but the state of COVID-19 across the country. Stats and results will be used to determine how many fans will be allowed inside venues to watch the play.
They will also close spectators at games and consider cancelling March Madness if the numbers suggest it should be done. This measure could come into force at any stage. This may affect the concentration of players in the latter stages of the tournament but the thinking at present is it will, hopefully, pass without incident.
The NCAA has confirmed dates for March Madness 2021 and fans should add Sunday 14 March to their diaries as selection day. That will be followed by the opening games with the first round pencilled in for 19th March. Play concludes with the final rounds fought out between the 3rd and 5th of April.
Indiana hosts the bulk of games with 55 of the 64 matches played there. That is great news for local teams and fans, but the travel restrictions placed on supporters from other areas of the country are yet to be ironed out. Due to their involvement in elite sports, the players will be permitted to travel without being challenged.

Enjoy the show

There will be nothing normal about this year’s event, but fans are determined to enjoy the play as best they can. If they can do that at the venues in support it’ll be great for all concerned but if fans must remain at home and watch on televisions and live streams, so be it. This is one March Madness that will never be forgotten.

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