ESPN’s bubble popped, but that doesn’t mean college basketball should give up on regular season


It would be nice if the three most talked about words in the sport in 2020 were to call out a famous player, like “Mike Breen’s” Put it! “from the NBA games or ‘Iron’ bad ‘by Tim Brando on college hoops. Until we hear a lot about the “New Patriots” of England “it may be tolerable.

Instead, the three words that have been saved are: Hold on.

It was a multi-faceted response to every obstacle faced by officials of prominent sports institutions in the year COVID-19. We hear again, in a changed way, now that a significant number of college basketball games have been misled by ESPN’s decision not to allow their own multi-team tournaments.

Now they are “conference games only.”

Different verbs. Same attitude.

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When Major League Baseball faced coronavirus fires in the Marlins and Cardinals in the first few weeks of the opening of its summer season, shouts and calls to “shut it down” spread. When college football teams started watching dozens of back-to-back games, starting Sept. 5 with the game between Louisiana-Monroe and Troy, we heard it again. , Of course, that flooded the Twittersphere when we learned on October 1 that the Tennessee Titans would be forced to postpone a game against the Steelers. Because everything is bigger in the NFL.

The thing is: The baseball dance that should have been abandoned months ago will end on Tuesday or Wednesday with the final of the 2020 World Series. The college football dance, which was to be abandoned now, was attended by the Big Conference, with Pac-12 coming in two weeks. The NFL dance that had to be abandoned ended its seventh week, which also included the Steelers-Titans game. It was a thrill.

ESPN’s decision to cancel eight events it planned to place in a “bubble” Orlando-like environment in place for the resumption of the NBA season, by Matt Norlander of CBS Sports on Sunday was predicted in a Twitter post and announced Monday by Seth. Davis of Athletic. ESPN later confirmed this: “ESPN events have begun to create a safe environment for teams to participate in Orlando early-season events. Due to some difficulty of the test protocols, we decided to restart these competitions in the 2021-22 season. “

ESPN invests in college basketball, but he did not want to take the risk in this case. It was her law. This left dozens of teams hoping the event would become part of their existing program to look for alternative deals. Repetitions of the Champions Classic and Jimmy V Classic may still find another home other than Orlando, but there is no doubt that this was a blow to a sport that already seems to be running late since the season started on November 25th.

Much of the blame for the demolition of these tournaments lies with the Big 12 and the SEC, which reportedly refused to comply with COVID testing protocols that would require any athlete who tested positive 90 days or more before the event to enter the bubble.

On the face of it, this seems a predictable approach.

They will not do that together. The number of players who tested positive is only one percent of the total group. The payoff on their test again cannot be more than a few payouts.

What will happen? Think about it this way: College basketball dances will start a pandemic in more than eight months. The scientific community is still advancing in its knowledge of the virus, and some epidemiologists are concerned that those who have it can take positive tests after they have contracted it, survived and no longer burn the virus. Most of the working autumn seasons did not need to deal with this problem.

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Why not just continue testing those athletes with all the other players to show that the latter positive is abnormal? Because these tests are for informational purposes only. In a pandemic environment, one of the most painful diseases in our lives comes a positive test result. The results should be reported to the government health authorities. Those who are positive usually need to be guaranteed.

If such a positive test were to occur for an athlete upon arrival in Orlando, he or she might need to be disqualified – although he or she did not need to be disqualified.

Having developed these concerns, we still do not have a comprehensive program that is less than a month from the start of the season – these are not signs that college basketball is without a leader. That we have a set start date, a modified schedule and the possibility of an interconnection game are all evidence of the presidency that months before NCAA vice-president Dan Gavitt announced on September 16 that the season could start on November 25 and included 27 games.

Of course it will only make setting up conference games easier. For those who choose that path, it is a wise decision. The elimination of the non-league game, however, complicates the selection process for the NCAA Tournament in ways that many competitors – especially the top-coaches – do not prefer. There is no way the NCAA primary measure, NET, can provide accurate information on a team’s relevant value if all teams are limited to the conference game.

Playing tough conference games by itself is not safer, as long as those games are like a bunch of toys that are operated by the NBA or the NHL. It may be the preferred approach of some college basketball leagues, and it may be the only way some people can but get out there to conduct a representative conference program. That’s good.

But it suggests that the confusion that develops when different leagues follow different medical advice requires one to give up the entire industry, the same approach to defeat that has been thrown out by every sports competitor who has just started competing.

Safety is of paramount importance to those competing in a pandemic. It is not optional. Comfort, though, is no more than convenience.


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