LIVE STORY: NCAA Tournament Bubble Life

Out of every major sport, the COVID-19 pandemic may have affected college basketball the most. From canceling last year’s NCAA tournament, causing millions in revenue loss, to this year’s tournament being held under drastically different conditions, college basketball has been forced to change dramatically.

On top of the stresses of being a student and living in a pandemic, athletes were faced with the added pressure of essentially isolating themselves for the entirety of the season to avoid exposure and routine testing. This continues as the NCAA follows suit with most major league sports by creating a bubble for their tournament in Indiana, as opposed to the nationwide spread it traditionally has.

But given that the NCAA has not always had the best track record when it comes to treating their student-athletes the way they should be catered to, it creates an interesting microcosm within Indianapolis for the tournament. All eyes are on the NCAA bubble here at Clarity Stripe as we will continuously update this article throughout the tournament with stories, posts, and all the latest content to keep up to date with the Madness.


STORY #5: 

Being inside the bubble didn’t mean basketball all the time, the players tried to make the most of their time while they were isolated. As the tournaments come to an end here’s a look back at some of the fun things players did to pass the time.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, players and teams were under strict schedules that allowed for little down time. If they wanted to spend time outdoors, the team had to book recreational time at the minor league baseball stadium across the street from the hotel. Here, players were able to take a break from basketball and try and have a bit of fun with their teammates. Iowa even started their own wiffle ball tournament that became the talk of the bubble. Below is a peak into what that looked liked. 

Gonzaga’s players and their head coach Mark Few also started their own makeshift pickleball court inside the hotel, while Baylor created makeshift basketball courts.

Other games that were played included ping pong tournaments, corn hole, card games and one team even brought bowling pins and balls that they set up in their wing of the hotel. Not only will there be a NCAA basketball champion, but there were also many champions crowned in games like Uno, FIFA, Connect Four and anything else the players could think to play.

One thing that players really started to miss was a barber. This led to another fun activity of teammates attempting to cut each other’s hair. Oregon State even contemplated having someone go down the line and buzz everyone’s heads.

The NCAA also provided opportunities for teams to take guided tours of the Indianapolis Zoo or a trip to the nearby TopGolf facility to help give the players some time away from their hotel rooms. In the video below, Alabama’s team is petting sting rays and talking to lions.

While players never imagined playing in a tournament set up like this one, it absolutely made for memories they will never forget.



As Women’s History Month comes to a close, the cries for equality and fair treatment have been heard! After all the backlash the NCAA received over the stark differences in treatment to their women’s athletes versus the men, the league made a statement. 

Emma Baccellieri of Sports Illustrated spoke to the NCAA about the injustice and continues to follow and track the differences on her Twitter. Making sure the league is dotting every “i” and crossing every “t”, Baccellieri aims to make all the differences known, including with the “swag bags” gifted to athletes participating in the tournament. 

To further the support for the women, Kendall Baker has also taken to Twitter to fight for women’s equality in sports. Utilizing analytics and estimated earnings, Baker tweeted about how the top women in the Elite Eight are worth more than the men. 



The NCAA has received a lot of criticism this week following pictures that surfaced comparing the mens weight room to the women’s weight room inside their respective bubbles. The mens is shown with rows of equipment in a large open space while the women’s weight room is shown as a pile of yoga matts next to a single rack of dumbbells.

Many female athletes took to twitter to voice their disappointment at the lack of equality in comparison to the men’s facilities. After the photos quickly went viral, the NCAA was forced to speak on the matter. They responded to the backlash, saying they were “actively working” to address the issue. They also claimed the problem was not about money, but about the amount of space they had available to them at the women’s facilities. Quickly after, the women’s workout facilities were updated to match that of the mens. 

The internet was quick to question where the space had suddenly come from and why they were not provided with it to start? Former Canadian athlete who played in the NCAA spoke out on Twitter and said, “Welcome to the world of being a female athlete.” In an organization such as the NCAA that preaches equality, it was disappointing for many to see them drop the ball on such a pressing issue in our society.


One of the COVID-19 related precautions that the NCAA has taken is requiring all team personnel to wear a tracking device. Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, the trackers will be used to ensure proper social distancing measures are being taken, and for contact tracing purposes. When two or more people wearing the devices come within six feet of each other it blinks as a notification to spread apart and maintain proper distance. They can also recognize how close individuals are to each other and for how long. That way, in the event of a positive case of COVID-19, it can easily be traced who the person was around, in what proximity and for how long. This addition comes from similar protocols put into place in the NBA bubble over the summer in Orlando, Florida and by the NFL training camp. 

Athletes in the NCAA bubble have taken to social media like TikTok to show some of the protocols that exist within the bubble. Among others, University of Michigan’s Adrien Nunez and Ohio University’s Michael Brown both created content showcasing the tracking devices in action.


Idk about this part 😭😅 #marchmadness #NCAA #ayoitsmike #bigdance #fypシ #trackingdevice #crazy #share #viral

♬ original sound – AyoItsMike ⚡️


When you get too close to someone it starts blinking. Wild

♬ original sound – Adrien Nunez


Indianapolis’ tournament bubble is not providing the amenities that many teams are used to at some of their home facilities. As main sources of revenue for many of their respective school’s athletic programs, most basketball teams receive top-tier treatment, including best in-class equipment, facilities and dining. From the strict rules to the strangely scheduled routines, the players and coaches have a lot of adjustments to make and expectations to limit.

The facilities themselves are much different from what some of these programs are used to. Each team has their own court in their hotel(s), in addition to their own entire floor of rooms to stay in, that are separate from the other teams.

Additionally, many players are upset with the conditions of the bubble, along with the NCAA’s long-critiqued treatment of players, motivating them to spread the hashtag, #NotNCAAProperty:

Some bubble inhabitants, such as North Carolina at Greensboro’s Kaleb Hunter, seem to be having a decent time in the Indianapolis Bubble:

First Weekend Update:

Rutgers was able to pull off the upset in the first round against Clemson.



♬ original sound – Ron Harper Jr.

Ohio also pulled off a miraculous upset over the “defending” champs, Virginia.


Reply to @stankyfishycarson All you haters SICK ‼️😂 TOLD YA’LL #AyoItsMike #BIGW #NCAA #MarchMadness #LETSGO #OhioUniversity BIGWIN #VIRGINIAK

♬ original sound – AyoItsMike ⚡️