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NCAA Releases Replacement Plans for 2021 March Madness Tournaments

The NCAA Division I's Men's Basketball and Women’s Basketball Committees released replacement policies for the upcoming NCAA tournaments on Thursday. 

As part of the plans, after the championship field is released and before the championship beginning, a single-bid conference "may replace its [automatic qualifier] if it is unable to participate due to COVID-19."

For any multi-bid conference that has a team unable to participate, "the last four teams not selected as at-large teams for the original field shall be designated as replacement teams."

The replacement team will be placed in the bracket position left vacant by the withdrawing team, and once the bracket is finalized and released, teams will not be reseeded.

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For the NCAA men's tournament, the deadline for consideration of replacing a team unable to participate due to COVID-19 is Tuesday, March 16. No replacement teams will be introduced into the NCAA tournament after that deadline. 

Once the tournament has begun, the NCAA stated that "no team will replace a team that has a COVID-19 issue and can no longer participate in the championship." 

Instead, its opponent would advance to the next round via forfeit. 

The men's tournament, which will take place exclusively in Indianapolis due to COVID-19 restrictions, will have its bracket released at 6 p.m on Sunday, March 14 before getting underway on Thursday, March 18. 

The women's tournament, which will be held in San Antonio due to COVID-19 restrictions, will have its bracket released at 6 p.m on Monday, March 15 before getting underway on Friday, March 18.