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NCAA announces contingency plans for tournament teams forced to withdraw due to issues related to COVID-19

The NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Committees have determined how they will handle various scenarios related to a team needing to withdraw from the 2021 Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships should it encounter issues related to COVID-19. Other championships committees are expected to follow similar procedures.

The following tenets are fundamental to the committees’ decision.

  • Once the bracket is finalized and released, teams will not be reseeded, nor will the bracket change.
  • Reasonable efforts will be made to ensure a full field is in place before the start of the championship. No replacement teams will be introduced after the championship begins.
  • Every participating conference should have the opportunity for a minimum of one team in the championship field.
  • Beyond the goal of having at least one team from every conference, replacement teams must be among the best teams being considered for an at-large bid.

There are separate policies for when a team is forced to withdraw: one for before the announcement of the championship field and one for after the release of the bracket. Replacement teams will only be introduced into the championship within 48 hours after the announcement of the field, and at no time thereafter.

To view the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship’s guidelines for replacing teams, click here. The Division I Women’s Basketball Championship’s guidelines can be viewed here. Guidelines for other Division I championships may be viewed here.

The men’s tournament bracket will be announced at 6 p.m. Eastern time Sunday, March 14, on CBS, while the women’s bracket will be revealed at 7 p.m. Eastern time Monday, March 15, on ESPN.