UPDATE: NCAA to allow limited fans at men’s, women’s NCAA tournaments

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(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

Update, 3:45 p.m.: The NCAA has announced that the women’s NCAA Tournament will also allow limited capacity of up to 17 percent from the Sweet Sixten through the Women’s Final Four. For the first and second rounds, attendance will be restricted to just the teams and their guests. Each participant will be allotted six tickets for guests.

Every contest will be held in the San Antonio area, while the Sweet Sixteen through the Women’s Final Four will be played at the Alamodome.

“We are looking forward to the return of the championship as well as limited fan attendance to what will be a unique and unforgettable event,” said Lynn Holzman, vice president of women’s basketball at the NCAA. “The NCAA has and will continue to work in conjunction with state and local health authorities to ensure the health and safety of all student-athletes, staff and fans for this year’s championship, but we are excited that fans will again be part of the 2021 championship.”

Original, 11:25 a.m.: Fans who have been waiting to see West Virginia’s return to the NCAA Tournament could have the opportunity to see it in person.

The NCAA announced Friday that it will allow up to 25 percent capacity to all rounds of the tournament, including the Final Four, with physical distancing. The decision was made alongside Indiana state and local health authorities.

The entirety of the 2021 NCAA Tournament will take place in Indiana, with the majority of games taking place in Indianapolis.

“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.”

This capacity number will include players, coaches, staff, family members as well as fans. As is the norm this season, all attendees will need to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing, while all venues will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected — along with other safety measures.

“The number one priority for decisions around the tournament continues to be the safety and well-being of everyone participating in the event,” said NCAA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Hainline. “We have been in regular conversations with the NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group and local health officials to make sure we have the right protocols in place to provide a safe environment. Additionally, IU Health is providing critical testing and monitoring services enabling us to safely conduct the tournament.”

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