San Antonio already was set to play host to the 2021 NCAA Women’s Final Four. Now, the San Antonio region — plus one site in Austin — will serve as the home court, if you will, for this year’s entire NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship in an effort to help contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Sixty-four teams will compete March 21 through April 4 at venues in Austin, San Marcos, and San Antonio. The Frank Erwin Center on the University of Texas at Austin campus and the University Events Center at Texas State University in San Marcos will host first-round games before the tournament shifts solely to San Antonio venues.
In an NCAA release issued February 5, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg says hosting all 64 teams in the San Antonio area “is a remarkable opportunity for our event and hospitality industry.”
Six championship rounds will be played at five venues:
- First-round play will take place March 21-22 at the Alamodome, Bill Greehey Arena at St. Mary’s University, the Frank Erwin Center on the University of Texas at Austin campus, the University Events Center at Texas State University, and the University of Texas at San Antonio Convocation Center.
- Second-round play, March 23-24, will take place at the Alamodome, Bill Greehey Arena, and UTSA Convocation Center.
- The championship will move to the Alamodome for the remaining rounds, with the Sweet 16 games played March 27-28; Elite Eight games, March 29-30; and Women’s Final Four, April 2 and 4.
“We are extremely honored that the NCAA has chosen San Antonio and the surrounding region for this incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host the entire NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship,” Jenny Carnes, senior vice president and chief operating officer of San Antonio Sports, a nonprofit that promotes sports in the city, says in the NCAA release. “The confidence they have in San Antonio speaks volumes about our team, experience and what we can offer the event to ensure a safe and successful tournament.”
The NCAA is working with testing provider Diamond Health and the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District on COVID-19 protocols for the tournament.
“No decision has been made on fan attendance at this time. If general public attendance is determined appropriate, the attendance policy will follow the established local guidelines,” the NCAA says.
Official 34-member groups representing each team will arrive March 16 and 17 in San Antonio. Practices will take place on nine courts set up at the Henry B. González Convention Center and the Alamodome.
Teams will be housed in hotels around San Antonio and the rest of Bexar County. Only teams and certain other tested people will occupy these hotels during the championship.