The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has decided on a target period of mid-September as to when an announcement will be made on the status of the 2020-2021 basketball seasons, looking to work themselves around the COVID-19 pandemic that has disrupted lives and sports in the Western Hemisphere since March.
This year was an unprecedented year for the NCAA as they had to cancel a number of national championships including the division one men’s basketball tournament known as “March Madness” because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bahamian basketball players, and a collegiate head coach, will be waiting on that announcement as they look to put their talent on display. The players include University of Texas center Kai Jones, Florida Gulf Coast University guard Franco Miller, University of Mississippi forward Sammy Hunter, Robert Morris University forward Charles Bain, female guard Valerie Nesbitt and women’s basketball head coach at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) Yolett “Coach Yo” McPhee-McCuin, to name a few.
The tentative start date is November 10. According to NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt, they have been monitoring the pandemic.
“As we prepare for the 2020-21 college basketball season, we have exercised patience and discipline in monitoring the effects of COVID-19 and making decisions regarding the season. We have learned a great deal over the course of the summer, and with health and safety being our number one priority, we have developed and studied contingency plans for alternatives to the scheduled November 10 start date,” Gavitt said.
At that time, the NCAA along with the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Oversight Committees will seek to provide direction about whether practice sessions and the season will start on time or whether or not they will have a short-term delay as a result of the ongoing pandemic.
Gavitt added: “We recognize that we are living and operating in an uncertain time, and it is likely that mid-September will be just the first milestone for many important decisions pertaining to the regular season and the NCAA basketball championships. While circumstances may warrant flexibility resulting in a different and perhaps imperfect season, the ultimate goal is to safely provide student-athletes and teams with a great college basketball experience.”
Several conferences have come forward, stating that they have postponed their fall sporting activities to Spring 2021. Those conferences include the Pac-12 and the Big Ten.
About a week ago, Gavitt assured that a March Madness tournament will happen in 2021. With the COVID-19 pandemic still rocking the United States of America, the logistics offer a challenge for sports that require travelling.
This past season, Bain and the Robert Morris University Colonials won the Northeast Conference (NEC) title to earn what would have been their first March Madness tournament appearance since 2015. Jones and the Texas Longhorns were in their Big-12 Conference Tournament Championship when their season was canceled because of the pandemic.