Albany won’t host any NCAA Division I women’s basketball tournament games in 2021, as the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the sports world.
In an expected move, the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee announced Monday that its 2021 national tournament will take place in one geographic area, and that “preliminary talks with San Antonio and the surrounding region to serve as the potential landing spot for the 64-team tournament” are underway.
Previously, it was announced that the men’s tournament will take place in one geographic area, with Indianapolis the likely spot.
Albany’s Times Union Center was scheduled to host Sweet 16 and Elite Eight women’s basketball games on March 27 and 29.
“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 and chair of the committee, in a statement issued from the NCAA. “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 committee and staff deeply appreciate the efforts of all the host institutions and conferences that were slated to host championship play in 2021, especially our predetermined regional hosts in Albany, Austin, Cincinnati and Spokane. We look forward to bringing the tournament back to the impacted sites in future years.”
The men’s tournament was supposed to visit Albany in 2020, but those games were canceled because of the pandemic.