Emmert: NCAA Looking Into College Basketball Bubble
NCAA President Mark Emmert endorsed the idea of potentially using bubbles for NCAA championships -- including basketball -- in the first half of '21, saying it is "perfectly viable in many sports," according to Jeff Borzello of ESPN.com. Emmert said that NCAA Senior VP/Championships Joni Comstock and NCAA Senior VP/Basketball Dan Gavitt have been "working with committees and conferences to figure out the logistics and economics of how it would work amid the coronavirus pandemic." Kentucky men's basketball coach John Calipari said that a "'well-thought-out' bubble concept is realistic for college basketball because of what the NBA and WNBA have achieved," adding that he "believes the blueprint has already been established." Emmert said that the "preference would be to keep the men's and women's NCAA basketball tournaments as scheduled." Multiple college basketball officials have spoken of the "importance of COVID-19 testing in being able to have a men's and women's college basketball season." Emmert "discussed how he's hoping for an improvement in that department by December and January" (ESPN.com, 8/13).
BUBBLE SEEMS ATTRACTIVE TO BIG TEN: Michigan State AD Bill Beekman on Thursday said that the potential for starting the basketball season on time in November "remains a possibility." Beekman also said that "a bubble-like environment" is "on the table." However, he said Big Ten ADs have "not yet had 'significant, in-depth conversations'" about college basketball. Beekman added that the Big Ten has "looked at the NBA’s bubble and has seen how well that has worked to keep players safe, contrasting it with how Major League Baseball has not used one 'and they've had struggles'" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 8/14).
PROPOSALS COMING IN: THE ATHLETIC's CJ Moore reported a "blueprint to play nonconference games inside a bubble went out to 50 teams this week." Houston-based sporting event company U-Sports Group Consultant Rhossi Carron has a "proposal for the 'Battle in the Bubble,'" which "would include 20 schools, with each team playing eight nonconference games and a scrimmage over three weeks in December in Houston." Carron said that he has "heard back from 20-plus schools that have expressed some level of interest -- including 12 at the high-major level." Teams "would only be allowed to bring players and essential staff -- limited to 24 in each traveling party -- and those coming to the bubble would be asked to isolate for seven days leading up to their Nov. 30 arrival." Where the games would be held is to be determined, but Carron said that he is "close to picking a site." He is "looking at putting a court in a convention center or hotel ballroom" (THEATHLETIC.com, 8/13).