SportsNCAA Tournament


College athletes, staff get break from NCAA tournament bubble at Victory Field

Posted at 8:47 AM, Mar 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-22 08:47:57-04

INDIANAPOLIS — As the NCAA Tournament continues, college athletes are spending most of their day stuck inside. Because of the pandemic, the only outlet for all of the students and staff to get some fresh air in Indianapolis is at Victory Field.

For the first time, WRTV got permission to show these top-performing athletes taking a mental break from the non-stop competition.

At Victory Field, athletes are able to use the baseball field to spread out, kick around a soccer ball, and do it all whole staying distanced from one another.

Cheyne Reiter, the director of communications for the Indianapolis Indians, spoke on their roles in the tournament.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for these student-athletes in these 68 teams that came to Indianapolis. The NCAA reached out to us; they knew that we were one of the few outdoor facilities here in Indianapolis to host something like this. And the players coming in, and all the safety protocols that they have to follow, I think the first couple of days they were all kind of cooped up in their hotel rooms just across the street from us. So, both that and then the proximity to those hotels were within walking distance," Reiter said.

"So, once they are able to leave their hotel rooms, we had a number of teams out here Wednesday, when it was gorgeous. We've got a nice day again today and we had Gonzaga playing a flag football game. We had Iowa playing wiffleball and teams are out here playing soccer and badminton, you name it, they're trying to do it and just enjoy themselves as we navigate this tournament and again it's a tournament that's going to be unlike any other."

Reiter says they worked with the NCAA to provide a risk mitigation plan to the Marion County Health Department. That means, there are guards at the gates, one-way arrows on the stadium grounds, and masks are mandatory as teams walk in — but their allowed to remove them on the open-air field.