INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA said it completed more than 9,100 COVID-19 tests en route to the NCAA tournament with just eight positive results on Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 employees.
The tournament begins Thursday with the first four games with games at the Indiana Assembly Hall and Purdue Mackey Arena. The NCAA does not disclose who tested positive, even though one came from an official game on Monday night. This officer and five others who had contact were sent home from Indianapolis.
All but one team participating in the tournament spent the week in Indianapolis. Defending champion Virginia, who had to withdraw from the ACC tournament due to a positive COVID-19 test, will arrive on Friday afternoon. The Cavaliers must complete two rounds of testing and quarantine before they can train at the Indiana Convention Center on Saturday. Virginia, number 4 in the West region, will face number 13 in Ohio on Saturday night in Bloomington, Indiana.
According to Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball, none of the six NCAA tournament venues have the NCAA-approved 25% fan capacity. Gavitt announced the official capacity for each venue on Thursday: Only 500 spectators, or 3% capacity (limited to family and staff) will be allowed in the Indiana Assembly Hall. 1,350 fans (9% capacity) are admitted to the Mackey Arena. Hinkle Fieldhouse will have 1,250 fans (14% capacity) while Bankers Life Fieldhouse will have between 2,500 and 3,800 fans (13-19% capacity), depending on the ability to safely clean the arena between games. Lucas Oil Stadium, home to the Final Four, will accommodate 6,900 fans for games on Equality Court and 8,500 fans for games on Unity Court (22% capacity).
When teams aren’t practicing or playing, they are quarantined at their hotels, where they eat at least two meals a day. According to Gavitt, the teams took advantage of late night grocery delivery opportunities with NCAA partners. Wendy’s brought a food truck to deliver over 1,500 burgers and chicken sandwiches. Buffalo Wild Wings served 61 teams in the past three days and served more than 19,000 wings on its busiest night. and Pizza Hut delivered 665 pizzas, 208 family-size pasta, and 465 breadsticks.
“That’s a lot of food for hungry athletes,” said Gavitt.