NCAA lays out COVID-19 back-up plan for 2021 season

The NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Committees have addressed concerns relating to how they will handle scenarios of a team needing to withdraw from the Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships due to COVID-19 issues, setting out a contingency plan.

Both have set out a series of tenets which dictate that once the bracket is finalised and released, teams will not be reseeded, nor will the bracket change. Reasonable efforts will be made to ensure a full field is in place before the start of the championship and no replacement teams will be introduced after the championship begins.

Every participating conference should have the opportunity for a minimum of one team in the championship field. Moreover, beyond the goal of having at least one team from every conference, replacement clubs must be among the best teams being considered for an at-large bid.

There are also separate policies for when a team is forced to withdraw: one for before the announcement of the championship field and one for after the release of the bracket. 

Replacement teams will only be introduced into the championship within 48 hours after the announcement of the field, and at no time thereafter.

Other championships committees are expected to follow similar procedures, the NCAA said in its statement.

The men’s tournament bracket will be announced on 14 March on CBS, while the women’s bracket will be revealed on 15 March on ESPN.