SportsNCAA Tournament


Here’s what it’s like in the ‘bubble’ for the NCAA Tournament

Teams isolating in hotel rooms for safety
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Posted at 8:58 PM, Mar 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-16 20:58:04-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Purdue’s Men’s Basketball team arrived around 11:30 a.m. on Monday. After they checked in, they received their first round of testing.

Elliot Bloom, Purdue’s Operations Manager, says the team was assigned a hotel ambassador who explained all of the protocols and directed the student-athletes to their designated testing area and hotel floor.

“Right away it’s let’s get your test and get you to your rooms and your isolation period,” Bloom said.

The student-athletes and staff members had to stay on their designated floor once they arrived and were only allowed to leave their hotel rooms for meals and to go take their second COVID-19 test.

“We basically walk out to grab our food that they bring us to the elevators grab our food and right back in the room. We told the guys when they left for their rooms yesterday, grab a bunch of waters and take a bunch of snacks and figure out what you’re doing with a Netflix series or something like that,” Bloom said.

The team isolated for several more hours Tuesday while awaiting their results from the second round of testing and were finally able to leave their rooms to head to their first practice at the convention center late Tuesday afternoon.

“I guess the way the NCAA is looking at it is as many layers as you can add to keep everyone safe that’s what they’ve tried to do and they’ve certainly pulled out all the stops to accomplish that,” Bloom said.

The NCAA pulled 6 referees from the competition late Monday due to a positive COVID-19 test and contact tracing.

“We did anticipate, like we did with teams, that it could be a possibility that we could have positives among officials. So we identified, in advance, and had approved 17 replacement officials that we were continuing to test,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball. “Four of the six officials have been replaced.”

The move, one of so many that the NCAA is taking to ensure teams and staff members are safe and healthy within the ‘bubble’ of the tournament, is something Bloom said his team completely understands.

“Sometimes you’ve got to do what’s the best for the greater good and I think that’s what our guys have all embraced throughout the year,” Bloom said.