NCAA may consider single site for part of future tourneys

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Baylor players and coaches celebrate after the championship game against Gonzaga in the men's Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Baylor won 86-70. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA used the single-site concept for its marquee championship out of necessity.

Now it could become part of the tournament's future.

A day after crowning a national champion for the first time since 2019, NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt told reporters that the successful men's college basketball tournament held primarily in Indianapolis and exclusively in Indiana could create a late-round model for future tourneys.

“If it's the desire of the committee and the membership to consider something along these lines for the future, I think we would give it significant consideration," he said Tuesday on a video call. “I would hesitate to say, though, I don’t think a 68-team single site, short of another pandemic, would be something we would have great interest in. However, once you get down to a fewer amount of teams, say the Sweet 16 and on, having teams in the same location may provide some opportunities the membership, coaches and all would want to consider for the future."

Whatever happens, it won't be anytime soon — at least not by choice.

The NCAA already has awarded preliminary round games through 2026 and intends to play those games as scheduled, something it couldn't do this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic that forced everyone to rethink how they could safely host games a year after the tournament was scrapped.

Players, coaches and staff members were tested daily for the coronavirus throughout the three-week event. Seating capacity was capped at 25% in the six playing venues. Fans were required to wear masks and those in the closest contact with teams, deemed Tier 1 personnel, essentially lived in an NCAA version of a bubble.

By almost any measure, the protocols worked.