College basketball fans have been waiting for this week since March, as Division 1 college basketball finally makes it return this Wednesday. Although coaches and players are excited to finally get back out on the floor and play other competition, there are still many concerns revolving around the COVID-19 pandemic.
NCAA Basketball COVID-19 Update – November 24th Edition
Many of the nation’s top doctors and medical professionals are very concerned about the start of the college basketball season. They think that college basketball will deal with the same problems that the nation is dealing with on a daily basis. Even though college basketball has fewer players, coaches, and personnel than football does, it’s still an indoor sport which increases the probability of transmission. With college football already having cancelled over 80 games in an outdoor setting, the doctors are fearful that an even greater number of college basketball games will have to be cancelled.
The NCAA has set forth a strict set of guidelines for the college basketball season. If a player, coach, manager, or staff member (these are all considered to be Tier 1 individuals) test positive for the virus, everyone is expected to quarantine for at least 14 days. Even when those 14 days are up, the team will still need to get back into shape, which could take at least another two weeks. Any team that has this quarantine period will probably plan on losing at least a month of their season.
Numerous colleges have already been affected by the virus. The #2 ranked team in the nation, the Baylor Bears, just announced that head coach Scott Drew tested positive for the virus, so their program will have to be quarantined. Six Big East teams had to shut down pre-season workouts, while three are currently in quarantine. Most tournaments have been cancelled, and the Ivy League will not play at all this season.
Non-conference scheduling has been a nightmare for teams, as everyone is looking to limit travel. Many teams are trying to fit as many non-conference games as possible into a very limited window. While many would love to go the “bubble” concept for college basketball, it just wouldn’t work at this point in the season.
Recruiting has also been an issue. Recruits are not allowed to visit campus until January 1st at the earliest, and coaches cannot go out on the road to recruit until then. Many players will be committing to a school without even having visited the campus.
Although everyone is excited for the start of the season on Wednesday night, a fear of the unknown will still be hanging over the college basketball world. Teams will be thrilled to be back out on the floor, and college hoops fans will be overjoyed at being able to watch their favorite teams on television. As long as a team plays a minimum of 13 games, they’ll be eligible for the NCAA Tournament which will now take place in Indianapolis. All 68 teams will be playing their games there, so we shall see how that will work out. Until then, let’s hope that as few teams as possible are affected by COVID-19, and that we get to see a great college basketball season!