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NCAA sets COVID replacement policy for women’s tournament

Feb 25, 2021 | ,

The NCAA laid out its contingency plans on Thursday should COVID-19 force a team to withdraw from the women’s basketball tournament, and it will not allow a replacement team to enter past March 16 — five days before the scheduled start.

In fact, should a team not be able to play a game because of medical protocols once the tournament is underway, the game will be recorded as “no contest” and the opponent will move on to the next round.

Changes to the field will be allowed only by following the rules the NCAA specified Thursday.

If an automatic qualifier from a one-bid conference must pull out for COVID-19 reasons, the conference may enter a designated replacement team. If the change is made before the field is set on March 15, the team will be seeded as the tournament committee sees fit. If the change comes after that, the replacement team will fill the departing team’s slot in the bracket.

There will be no reseeding or change to the bracket once it is announced.

Should a potential at-large team not meet medical protocols before March 15, the committee must be notified by March 14. If the team is found after that date to not be able to play, a replacement will come from a pool of four teams — the last four out — by the March 16 deadline.

Those four teams, if they choose to be considered, will be seeded No. 1 through 4, with the top seed to be the first one in, if needed. The replacement team would go on the same bracket line as the team that is withdrawing.

The tournament is being played this year entirely in the San Antonio area because of the pandemic.

The four replacement teams will remain on their campuses and continue the COVID-19 testing protocol in case they are needed to travel to Texas.

First Round games are scheduled to start on March 21. The championship game is scheduled for April 4 at the Alamodome.

 

–Field Level Media

 

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