INDIANAPOLIS — For the first time since 1940, Butler will host an NCAA tournament game at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Of the colleges hosting games, only the Bulldogs had fans at games this season.
“For us, it was important that we could safely do it, to put together a plan,” said Butler Associate Athletic Director John Dedman speaking of their safety protocols for games. “I do think many of those things will carry over to the NCAA tournament, and not just Hinkle, but throughout the venues.”
Capacity was capped at 25%, and that will be the same for the tournament. The school implemented pod seating arrangements for the regular season, along with grab-and-go concessions. Both of those creations will be utilized for the tournament.
For the first time this year, the school will be hosting multiple games in one day. Dedman says the NCAA cut down the number of games per day to allow for more time to sanitize between games.
“Everyone from the teams to the fans to the media members will exit, and then we have a group that will come through and sanitize not only playing the surface but locker rooms,” detailed Dedman.
Fans who have been able to attend games this year have enjoyed the experience.
“I’ve been to five games this year, which is nice to have a somewhat normal year,” said Butler freshman Davis Opel who will be volunteering at the NCAA Tournament games.
“Even though there were less fans, it didn’t feel like it,” explained Opel’s roommate Evan Blom. “I have tickets to one of the first-round games, and one of the second-round games [of the NCAA Tournament]. I had class when they went on sale, but I had my Mom get them, and I repaid her.”
The doors at Hinkle Fieldhouse will open Friday for a 12:15 p.m. matinee clash between Florida and Virginia Tech. You can catch that game on CBS4.