There is no doubt that 2020 has been a whirlwind for all of society. Since COVID-19, and many months of quarantining, people are left with many unknowns. There is no other way to explain the impact that this year has had on everyone. Everything from school to restaurants were put on pause as a global pandemic took over.
With this new normal in place, sports fans and players eagerly waited to get back to their routine. Leagues like the MLS, NBA, WNBA, NWSL and the NHL cautiously went back to playing games. The NBA and WNBA have both been great examples of a successful season. Both leagues are currently competing in the playoffs in Florida within a “bubble.” As fall arrives and winter follows, the big question is what will college sports look like?
Fall sports like college football have already started with little to no people in attendance at games. The ACC, for example, has already seen concerns regarding COVID-19. According to CBS Sports, a Notre Dame-Wake Forest football game, originally planned for Saturday, Sept. 26, had to be postponed after multiple Notre Dame players tested positive for coronavirus. With college football underway, do college basketball officials look at instances like this as an example of what may be at risk?
There is no doubt that college basketball is one of the most anticipated sports to watch during the winter season. There have been many doubts early on if there would even be games played. Fortunately, the NCAA reports that fans and players will expect a 2020-2021 basketball season starting Nov. 25. This is certainly some good news for both spectators and participants after a lot of unpredictability. In an interview with sports analyst Andy Katz, the Senior Vice President of College Basketball, Dan Gavitt, says games will start just before Thanksgiving because about three-fourths of the DI Institutions will be done with their fall semesters, so this will give players time to become prepared mentally and physically.
There would also be a schedule change for both men and women. Both will have to play a minimum of 13 games against other DI teams to be taken into account for the NCAA tournament. No exhibition games or scrimmages will be allowed before the start date, Nov. 25. Gavitt also recommends that teams play a minimum of four non-conference games because it will help the committee in making choices for the tournament, according to the NCAA.
Conferences like the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, also known as the MAAC, have already laid out their plan for the 2020-2021 season, as stated by the NCAA. The conference play will begin on Dec. 8 for the men and Dec. 9 for the women. When league play arrives, both the men and women will play on alternating days. The men’s league games will take place on Tuesdays and Fridays and the women will play their league games on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The first two weeks of the NCAA season for the MAAC will be open for non-conference competitions.
Finally, the championships for the conference will be March 9-13.
One of the big questions many may be seeking is, will there be an NCAA tournament that takes place in March? The answer is yes. As of right now, both men and women will still have “March Madness.” The women will have 64 teams, and the Final Four will take place in San Antonio. The men, on the other hand, will have 68 teams, and the Final Four will be held in Indianapolis. The NCAA committee also decided that tournaments like the Maui Invitational will be played in North Carolina instead of Hawaii. The Battle 4 Atlantis, usually held in the Bahamas will be cancelled due to COVID-19.
With COVID-19, nothing has been set and established this year. The same can be said within the sports world. Even though the NCAA has set dates and an extensive outline of the upcoming basketball season, there are still so many unknowns. Things can change today, tomorrow, or in a month. Only time can tell, and as of right now fans can watch their favorite basketball team competing on the court.