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NCAA Tournament Refs Sent Home Following Positive Test

Six NCAA referees have been sent home from Indianapolis and will not work the NCAA Tournament after one tested positive for COVID-19, according to Jeff Goodman of Stadium.

The other five were near the official who tested positive and won’t call the games for “contact tracing” reasons.

Per Goodman, the refs arrived in Indianapolis on Sunday night, but their hotel rooms weren’t ready upon arrival. So all six were allowed to leave for dinner at Harry & Izzy’s steakhouse in downtown Indianapolis.

The six officials are considered among college basketball’s best — Ted Valentine, John Higgins, Roger Ayers, John Gaffney, Kipp Kissinger and Ray Natili.

Upon returning to the hotel, the refs took COVID tests, and one tested positive, Goodman reported. That same official was tested Monday morning.

“Due to the fact that they ate together and weren’t wearing masks, the Indiana Department of Health deemed them unable to work in the NCAA Tournament,” Goodman wrote.

The NCAA Tournament is schedule to tip off the first round Friday.

Written by Sam Amico

Sam Amico is the assistant managing editor-newsdesk at OutKick. He is also the co-founder and senior writer at Hoopswire.com, and has covered the NBA for nearly 20 years, including his time at Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and CBS Sports. A native of Akron, Ohio, his writing career began in Wyoming.

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  1. “Due to the fact that they ate together and weren’t wearing masks, the Indiana Department of Health deemed them unable to work in the NCAA Tournament,”

    How the hell do you eat with a mask on?

    I’m calling this the worst pandemic ever and it has nothing to do with the actual virus itself.

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