The National Collegiate Athletic Association released a plan for March Madness that will showcase a “commitment to inclusion and social justice.”
The 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship will begin on March 18 with several of the games being hosted at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
The NCAA announced that the stadium’s two basketball courts will be named “Equality” and “Unity,” which the association explained is in recognition of the “Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Unity Pledge.”
“Equality court” is named to “honor student-athletes from across the country who have used their voices and actions to make a difference advocating for social and racial justice.”
The NCAA released a diagram of their plans which depict the layouts:
The plans involve changing the text around the outside borders as the tournament progresses.
The association further explained that a design was created for each of the six locations.
Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s senior vice president of basketball, stated in the announcement that “while exploring ways to differentiate between two courts in a single venue, the Men’s Basketball Committee and staff wanted to bring an added focus to issues important to the student-athletes, who will be playing their biggest games on courts named in recognition of their beliefs, would be a nice added touch to what will be a unique tournament.”
The NCAA’s announcement also explains that the Equality and Unity courts will be used for two rounds during the Elite Eight games, and the Final Four will feature both.
On April 4, one day before the national championship game, the NCAA will begin its “Final Four Talks,” a new initiative with the theme “A (Racially) Just Future.” The conversations will feature student-athletes, community leaders, and collegiate staff, with the goal being to “broaden perspectives and inspire action through short, powerful discussions meant to shape their collective future.”
Martin Jarmond, director of athletics at UCLA, is set to participate in these conversations, along with multiple TEDx speakers and activists. The NCAA has stated that any profits associated with the event will be donated to Indianapolis nonprofits that are dedicated to “a racially just future.”
The other venues hosting March Madness will use traditional layouts with just the location, round, and arena name listed around the border.
As Campus Reform previously reported, March Madness was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns. This year, it will allow “up to 25% capacity with physical distancing,” at all rounds of the 2021 Divison 1 Men’s Basketball Championship.
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