sunny.png
Sunday September 20th, 2020 9:10AM

College basketball floats idea of bubbles for safe season

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

The NBA bubble has held. So has the NHL's double bubble. The WNBA and MLS, no leaks.

In this unprecedented landscape of sports in a pandemic world, one indisputable fact has emerged: bubbles work.

Thousands of tests, minimal to no positive COVID-19 test results.

So as the NCAA gets set announce its plans for the 2020-21 college basketball season, there are clear precedents and blueprints in place should it decide to go the bubble route.

“It's certainly viable,” said Mark Starsiak, vice president of sports at Intersport, a Chicago-based sports marketing and media agency, “From a basketball standpoint, I think we can follow those models.”

The college football restart has been scattershot. The season has already started, yet 53 FBS schools have the pads and helmets hanging on hooks while waiting for better pandemic news.

A much more unified plan is in place for the college basketball season.

The NCAA is hoping to start the season in late November/early December, with a vote by the Division I council expected Sept. 16.

A partnership between the Pac-12 and Quidel Corp. to potentially do daily, rapid COVID-19 tests on athletes should help smooth a return to the court.

The question then becomes: What's the best way to safely play basketball again?

Bubbles may be the answer.

While bubble football would be next to impossible logistically, basketball could fit nicely.

The travel parties are much smaller and college basketball already has plenty of multiple-team events, from holiday and conference tournaments to the NCAA Tournament. Add the effective safety measures of the pro leagues, find suitable sites and bubble basketball could work.

The NCAA is already looking at it, reportedly filing a trademark for the phrase “Battle in the Bubble.” Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont also said there have been preliminary talks for bubble basketball at the Mohegan Sun resort.

“The idea of a bubble would be a really good idea, just to isolate all the teams who want to play against each other in that bubble and keep things safe, keep away from the public and keep us in our own area where we’re able to play the game the right way and safely,” Duke sophomore forward Wendell Moore, Jr. said.

A big key will be finding the right places to bubble.

The NBA has the ideal setup at Disney World, but college basketball might be better suited to follow the NHL's lead.

Hockey's two bubbles — Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta — cordoned off areas enclosing the arena and several nearby hotels. All personnel entering are tested and strict protocols are in place for vendors delivering food and packages into the bubbles.

Similar bubbles for college basketball could be set up at smaller resorts, cities with arenas and hotels nearby, or Division II or III schools with arenas not being used during the pandemic.

The NCAA could set up pods of multiple nonconference teams, conference tournaments could be held in similar fashion and so could the NCAA Tournament.

In other words, basketball bubbles could pop up all over the country.

“Maybe do it for maybe a week or two at a time, playing a certain amount of games and getting retested after you come back or something like that,” Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said. "It’s possible, but it’s not going to be easy.”

Pulling off a college basketball bubble, however, comes with a caveat.

NCAA players are considered students, so academics would have to be part of the equation.

Division I players are already accustomed to doing school work on the road and the majority take primarily online classes. To make the bubbles work, socially distant space would have to be carved out for the players to take their classes and study.

The programs may also have to rethink the size of their traveling parties.

“Discussions about the right amount of tutors or academic staff would need to take place,” said Starsiak, who has operated high-level sports and entertainment events for 15 years. “

You have to look at, do we need three managers this time around? No, probably not. Do you take two and have a tutor or an academic come with us? Yeah, I think you could. I think there’s a way to kind of combine both things to have some live, in-person resources.”

The NCAA is going to do everything possible to have a basketball season.

The pandemic wiped out the NCAA Tournament last spring and the NCAA collected $270 million in cancellation insurance instead of the $1 billion TV payout it normally gets. A second straight year without March Madness could be devastating.

Bubbles may be the way to go.

___

AP Sports Writers Teresa Walker in Nashville, Tenn.; Aaron Beard in Raleigh, N.C.; and Pat Eaton-Robb in Storrs, Conn.; contributed to this story.

___

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP Online Hockey, College Sports, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
College basketball floats idea of bubbles for safe season
The NCAA could turn to bubbles to get the college basketball season going safely
4:16PM ( 14 minutes ago )
French Open allowing spectators amid virus resurgence
Spectators will be allowed at the French Open this month despite the growing number of coronavirus cases in the country
4:15PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Hopes fading for coronavirus deal as Congress returns
Hopes are dimming for another coronavirus relief bill from Washington as Congress returns to session
4:09PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Summer of COVD-19 ends with health officials worried
The Lost Summer of 2020 is drawing to a close with many big Labor Day gatherings canceled across the U.S. and health authorities pleading with people to keep their distance from others so as not to cause another surge in coronavirus cases like the one that followed Memorial Day
3:21PM ( 1 hour ago )
Down but not out, Serena Williams yells herself to Open win
Serena Williams is into the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open for a 12th consecutive appearance
3:15PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Serena Williams edges Maria Sakkari at US Open
Serena Williams is into the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open for a 12th consecutive appearance
2:45PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
James, Davis help Lakers hold on to beat Rockets, tie series
LeBron James had 28 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, Anthony Davis added 34 points and 10 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers evened the Western Conference semifinals, beating the Houston Rockets 117-109
12:16AM ( 16 hours ago )
No Giannis, no problem: Bucks top Heat in OT, force Game 5
The Milwaukee Bucks lost the first three games of the Eastern Conference semifinals, then lost the NBA’s MVP while trying to fend off elimination
6:38PM ( 21 hours ago )
Unique circumstances give NHL's its first 'Final Four'
The NHL is staging its first “Final Four” in league history with Eastern and Western conference finals happening in the same city
5:30PM ( 22 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
Shutdown Stars: Dallas beats Vegas 1-0 in West final Game 1
John Klingberg scored on the Stars’ first shot, Anton Khudobin stopped all 25 the Golden Knights put on net and Dallas bea Vegas 1-0 in a hard-hitting, defensive Game 1 of the Western Conference final
11:43PM ( 16 hours ago )
Isles East finals-bound after 4-0 romp over Flyers in Game 7
Thomas Greiss stopped 16 shots and the New York Islanders advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 1993, beating the Philadelphia Flyers 4-0 in Game 7 of the second-round series Saturday night
12:03AM ( 1 day ago )
Big boy hockey: Heavy teams ready to battle for Stanley Cup
The Cinderellas have left the NHL playoff bubble and the teams left are built for the heavy, tough big boy games that will determine who lifts the Stanley Cup
7:02PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Hockey
Texas schools carry apprehension into kickoff amid pandemic
Houston Baptist is playing only three football games this fall after the FCS Southland Conference decided a few weeks ago not to play league games
9:06PM ( 1 day ago )
Smart finds no QB clarity in No. 4 Georgia's 2nd scrimmage
The second preseason scrimmage for No. 4 Georgia has provided no clarity to the quarterback competition that continues without a top contender
6:18PM ( 1 day ago )
Longtime football coach Lou Holtz to get Medal of Freedom
President Donald Trump says he intends to give the Presidential Medal of Freedom to longtime football coach Lou Holtz
7:43PM ( 2 days ago )
College Sports
Reaction to the death of Hall of Fame coach John Thompson
The sports world is reacting to the death of former Georgetown coach John Thompson
3:57PM ( 1 week ago )
Coaching great John Thompson of Georgetown dead at 78
The college basketball coaching great John Thompson of Georgetown has died
12:53PM ( 1 week ago )
Lute Olson, Hall of Fame coach, Arizona icon, dies at 85
Lute Olson, the Hall of Fame coach who turned Arizona into a college basketball powerhouse and led the program to its lone national title in 1997, has died
1:22PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
French Open allowing spectators amid virus resurgence
Spectators will be allowed at the French Open this month despite the growing number of coronavirus cases in the country
4:15PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Hopes fading for coronavirus deal as Congress returns
Hopes are dimming for another coronavirus relief bill from Washington as Congress returns to session
4:09PM ( 20 minutes ago )
The Latest: Kentucky state representative contracts COVID-19
A Kentucky state representative announced that she has tested positive for the coronavirus
4:06PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Harris meets Blakes, Trump goes on attack in Labor Day blitz
The 2020 presidential campaign has entered its final phase in a blur of motion and rhetoric
3:59PM ( 31 minutes ago )
California sets record with 2M acres burned so far this year
Wildfires have burned more than two million acres in California this year, setting a new record even as crews battled dozens of growing blazes across the state
3:53PM ( 36 minutes ago )