INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — IUPUI is part of this year’s NCAA tournament hosting duties. They’ve got the court at Indiana Farmers Coliseum just about ready for games, and students at the university say they’re excited.
“I’m super excited IUPUI is doing more things in the sports community,” said Katherine Shr, an IUPUI student.
“It’s pretty cool the fact that IUPUI is finally getting to host something like this,” said Clay Miller, an IUPUI student.
“When I saw the news, I was super excited to hear it,” said Isra Haider, an IUPUI student. “This is a huge opportunity.”
IUPUI is gearing up for the NCAA Tournament. They’ll be welcoming more than 1,000 people to Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Games start this Friday.
“It’s incredibly exciting,” said Ed Holdaway, IUPUI assistant athletic director for communications.
“I mean anytime you’re drawing attention to your university and your program at the highest level, it’s incredibly exciting for all of us,” Holdaway said.
IUPUI says they’re working closely with the NCAA to make sure the games run smoothly. One of their top priorities is making sure people inside stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
“If someone comes up with a positive test, we have backups in line and ready to go so it won’t impact the games themselves,” Holdaway said. “They’ll go on, and we will go to our contingency plans.”
He says staff members will be tested every day and if anyone tests positive, they’ll be immediately isolated.
“It’s the utmost importance is just the safety and the welfare of the competitors and so we’re confident in the steps that we have outlined and if we follow our roadmap that things will go out seamlessly,” Holdaway said.
Holdaway adds that the Coliseum will be at less than 20% capacity.
“We wanted to certainly accommodate as many fans as possible and certainly the student-athletes have been able to provide a guest list,” Holdaway said. “So they’ll have their friends and family here rooting them on.”
The tournament comes to Indiana Farmers Coliseum following a $53 million renovation in 2012, modernizing the iconic Indianapolis venue all while keeping some of its original feel.
“Completely tore it down and built it back up,” Holdaway said. “It maintains some of the charm and the history that has occurred inside these walls.”
Meanwhile, students say they’re hoping the NCAA games will put a spotlight on their university.
“It’ll be nice because even though we’re not in the tournament personally, since we’re hosting it, our name is going to be on the court, so it can bring some new students in and really maybe grow our athletic program,” Miller said.