Games Will Be Played, Even If War Breaks Out

March 16, 2003

AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The NCAA tournament games will go on, even if war breaks out this week.

NCAA officials were busy making contingency plans for security and possible postponements, but the event would not be canceled, tournament managing director Greg Shaheen said.

"Our objective is to honor and respect the times we're living in, but to understand that life must go on," he said.

CBS has said it might switch some games to ESPN if there is a war with Iraq. It could also shift the games to another of the networks owned by CBS' parent company, Viacom, such as MTV, UPN, BET or TNN.

The tournament's first game is Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio, with the first-round games Thursday and Friday.

The NCAA has contacted sites and hotels to find out what events are planned in host cities in the days following first and second-round games, said Donna Noonan, a vice president in charge of the women's tournament. That way, games could be postponed if needed.

"We are planning on playing the tournament right now," men's selection committee chairman Jim Livengood said. "We've had contact with all the authorities and we plan on going forward."

Shaheen already has announced that the security measures adopted last year, following the Sept. 11 attacks on New York City and Washington, would be in place again this year. Additional measures might be added if war breaks out.

The men's tournament is not the only event the NCAA needs to worry about. The women's basketball and men's ice hockey tournaments also are concerns this time of year.

"It's not just one sport or one championship," Noonan said. "We'd have to bring the entire office into play."



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