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.