Michigan's NCAA Tournament run will have fans, up to 25% capacity

The Detroit News

The NCAA announced Friday it will allow a limited number of fans in attendance throughout the Division I men’s basketball tournament, to be held entirely in Indiana next month.

All rounds, including the Final Four, will allow up to 25% capacity in accordance with state and local health authorities because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The event capacity includes student-athletes, coaches, essential staff and players’ family members, as well as a reduced number of fans.

In this March 19, 2019 photo, spectators watch from the stands during the first half of a First Four game of the NCAA Tournament between Temple and Belmont, in Dayton, Ohio.

All attendees will be required to wear face coverings and practice social-distancing during games, while venues will be cleaned and disinfected regularly.

“The No. 1 priority for decisions around the tournament continues to be the safety and well-being of everyone participating in the event,” NCAA chief medical officer Dr. Brian Hainline said in a statement. “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."

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The NCAA announced last month the entire tournament will be played in the state of Indiana, with the majority of the event’s 67 games taking place in Indianapolis. Games will be played on two courts inside Lucas Oil Stadium as well as at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Mackey Arena at Purdue and Assembly Hall in Bloomington.

The NCAA Tournament is set to begin with the First Four on Thursday, March 18. The semifinals are set for April 3 and the national championship game two days later.

Michigan (15-1) is projected as a No. 1 seed, as is ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press poll.

“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,” Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball, said in a statement.