NCAA says teams need just five healthy players to play in March Madness
© Getty Images

The NCAA says that basketball teams only need five healthy players to play during March Madness.

NCAA officials outlined Wednesday how the tournament, which was canceled last year, would be played amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Associated Press reported.

"We decided if they had five players eligible and healthy" they could play, said Brett Gavitt, the NCAA's senior vice president of basketball, according to AP. "We wrestled with contingencies, and thought it was fairest for a team that earned its way, that even if it was compromised, they should have the opportunity to play rather than be replaced.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Teams cannot be replaced if they do not have enough players, the AP notes. Their opponents would move up the bracket.

Officials didn’t have an answer for what happens if a team’s coaching staff comes down with COVID-19.

“Honestly, it's probably something we should talk about as a committee,” Gavitt reportedly said.

Among the other restrictions, only one team will be permitted on the floor of a given hotel, and players will have their own rooms, Newsweek reports. Teams will also be subject to testing and virus tracing.

Selection for March Madness will take place this Sunday, according to the NCAA’s website.

The tournament is scheduled to begin on March 18 in Indiana, with the championship scheduled for April 5. Most of the games will be played in Indianapolis.

The NCAA announced in February that it is allowing up to 25 percent crowd capacity with masks and social distancing in arenas at the tournament.