The San Antonio region will host the entire NCAA women’s basketball tournament this year, the NCAA said Friday.
The move was made to help mitigate coronavirus risks and matches that of the men’s tournament, which the NCAA said last month will be played in the Indianapolis area.
The tournament will still have 64 teams and will run from March 21 through April 4. The NCAA will use five sites for the opening round, including the University of Texas, which is 80 miles from San Antonio.
“We appreciate the historical significance of moving the entire championship to one region and want to acknowledge the work by the Women’s Basketball Committee and staff, our hosts, local organizers and ESPN that has allowed us to make plans for a successful 2021 championship,” said Lynn Holzman, NCAA vice president of women’s basketball.
“Our No. 1 priority is to focus on creating and implementing safety controls in an environment for student-athletes, coaches, administrators, officials and everyone else associated with the championship.”
The Alamodome will host games for every round, with two courts in use. The Sweet 16, Elite Eight and Final Four will be played there, as well as the national championship game.
The NCAA said it was still figuring out how it would seed the tournament as far as who goes to which venue, as well as what would happen if a team is unable to compete because of virus issues.
No decision has been made on whether fans can attend.
Teams will be limited to a maximum travel party of 34 and are scheduled to arrive March 16 and 17. All will stay in hotels in San Antonio or other areas of Bexar County. Practices are to take place using nine courts that will be set up in the downtown convention center and the two in the Alamodome.
The NCAA will work closely with the health department in San Antonio to determine medical protocols. The tournament will use similar protocols to what the men will use in their tournament, including that all travel party members will need to have seven consecutive negative virus tests before arriving in San Antonio.
Everyone in the team travel parties will be tested daily upon arrival and throughout the tournament.
All participants will also be required to wear Kinexon movement devices during the tournament, including at practices and games, to assist with contact tracing and quarantining.
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