The NCAA on Thursday reported policies for how it will deal with potential Covid related withdrawals from the Division I men’s basketball competition, saying it won’t permit substitution teams after the competition starts.
There will be no reseeding or bracket changes once the bracket is released on Selection Sunday, and substitution teams may be presented within 48 hours of the field’s release. Potential at-large teams unable to meet the medical protocols by the first game of the NCAA competition should inform the selection committee on the Saturday night before the field is reported.
Substitution teams will be resolved in one of two different ways, contingent upon whether the team pulling out is a one-bid conference’s automatic qualifier or from a multibid league.
One-bid leagues can assign a substitution group if their automatic qualifier is compelled to withdraw. In the event that a team from a multibid league, regardless of whether it’s an everywhere team or a automatic qualifier, is compelled to withdraw, the last four teams not selected as at-large teams in the original field will be ranked 1-4 and assigned as the substitution teams. Substitution teams will be set in a similar bracket position vacated by the withdrawing team.
When the NCAA competition starts on Thursday, March 18, there will be no substitution teams. Accordingly, relinquishes could come into play.
“Once the tournament has begun, no team will replace a team that has a COVID-19 issue and can no longer participate in the championship,” the NCAA’s replacement policy states. “Its opponent would advance to the next round via the no-contest rule.”
The NCAA competition field will be reported on Sunday, March 14.