NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WWBT) - The 2021 Atlantic 10 Tournament will be relocated to an on-campus location, the conference announced on Thursday. The event was set to be held at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, but is being moved because of the ongoing pandemic environment, according to the league’s release.
The location of the tournament, which will take place March 10-14, is under review and will be announced “in the near future.” It will be the first full Atlantic 10 men’s basketball tournament on a campus since Dayton hosted the 2004 event.
“The challenges presented by COVID-19 and the ability to host this event on campus provides the league with operational efficiencies, established local health departments relationships, and a familiarity of conference COVID-19 protocols,” said A-10 Commissioner Bernadette McGlade. “We are fortunate to have first class arenas throughout the A-10, with strong administrative and operational staff on campus, giving the league numerous options for a member institution to host.”
VCU Director of Athletic Ed McLaughlin told NBC12 that the Rams have let the conference office know that they have “a high level of interest” in hosting the men’s basketball tournament at the Siegel Center.
“We will host the A-10 women’s tournament the prior week, so it makes a lot of sense for us to host both, given operational challenges in a COVID-19 world,” McLaughlin said.
The Spiders have also expressed their interest in hosting the A-10 Tournament to the conference office, according to a school spokesperson. Richmond head coach Chris Mooney was asked about the possibility of playing the tournament in a league team’s arena come March during a recent press conference.
“With no fans, it matters far less,” Mooney said. “If it’s on a campus and there are no fans I think there’s a slight advantage to the host team, but not nearly as significant as there would be if there were fans.”
VCU has been allowing 250 fans into the Siegel Center for games, while Richmond has not opened the Robins Center to spectators, instead only permitting a handful of team guests.
Brooklyn has become the consistent home for the Atlantic 10 Tournament, hosting the event from 2013-2016, 2019 and 2020. It is scheduled to return to the Barclays Center in 2023 and 2024, with a stop in Washington D.C. in 2022.
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