Six men’s NCAA Tournament officials sent home because of COVID-19 protocols

Six officials for the men's NCAA Tournament in Indianapolis have been sent home by the NCAA after one of them tested positive for COVID-19.

The NCAA determined through contact tracing the other five also needed to be removed. The officials are some of the most high-profile in the sport, including Ted Valentine, John Higgins, Kipp Kissinger and Roger Ayers.

"The NCAA has replaced several officials for March Madness because of a positive COVID-19 test. One official tested positive March 15, and five other officials the person interacted with the day before were identified as exposure risks due to prolonged close contact," an NCAA official said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports.

"Based on tournament protocols and contract tracing with local public health authorities, these officials may not participate in the tournament. The infected official must be placed in isolation, and the other officials must be placed in quarantine. Four replacement officials have been previously approved and meet the pre-tournament testing protocols. Two of the officials will not be replaced.”

Stadium was first to report the news.

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