As COVID-19 continues to disrupt college basketball all over the country, the NCAA is already trying to preserve one of its yearly tournaments.
The Division I Women’s Basketball Committee announced on Monday that they will be staging the entire women’s NCAA tournament in one geographic area. San Antonio, Texas was already scheduled to host the 2021 Final Four, but the NCAA is in talks with the city and the surrounding region to potentially host the entire 64-team tournament.
— NCAA Women’s Basketball (@ncaawbb) December 14, 2020
Per the press release, the goal of a one-site tournament is limiting travel and maximizing safety and control.
“Conducting the championship in one geographic region allows for more planning and execution of safeguards that provide potential benefits for promoting the health and safety of student-athletes, the NCAA membership and all individuals involved in the championship,” said Nina King, senior deputy athletics director and chief of staff at Duke, chair of the committee. “By making this difficult decision now, it allows for an earlier opportunity to work proactively with local public health officials within the host communities and ensures that the identified guidelines and protocols are considered for a more controlled environment.”
The first two rounds of the 2021 women’s tournament were originally going to be held at four sites: Albany, New York, Austin, Tex., Cincinnati, Ohio, and Spokane, Wash. San Antonio is being explored because as the host of the 2021 Final Four, they already have a full organizing committee in place to handle the arrangements that would be necessary to transition from a four-team event to a 64-team event.
The timing of the tournament is expected to stay the same, taking place in late March and early April.
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