Division I women’s college basketball has followed the lead of the men’s side in deciding to hold its 2021 NCAA Tournament in one geographic location, The Associated Press announced on Monday.
The women’s Final Four was originally going to take place in San Antonio and, according to the AP, the surrounding area of that city will likely be selected to host the entire 64-team tournament in a effort to limit travel and make the competition as safe as possible amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
This is a deviation from the system of having the top 16 overall seeds host the first two rounds and four different cities host the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight.
The new plan will limit travel considerably.
Albany, NY, Austin, TX, Cincinnati, OH and Spokane, WA were the original host cities for the regional rounds.
NCAA women's basketball committee chair Nina King had the following to say about the decision:
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. 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.