Summer is right on the horizon, which means college basketball programs usually start to begin in-person workouts and practices.
Clearly, times have changed and everyone is still at home at the moment. However, there is a lot of positive news surfacing for a possible return of sports.
The NBA has set an official date, which was just passed by the NBPA, to return to action on July 31st. The NBA has pioneered how to handle COVID-19 in sports, so with the league returning, that gives us a good sign for other sports.
Now, College sports are much trickier as they don’t get paid to play, and they have to stay on a campus with thousands of other students every day, which increases risk among all players and coaches.
So, everything is very fluid right now, but hopefully the numbers will continue to stagnate and College’s can make plans to get their students/student athletes back on campus.
Matthew Mitchell joined KSR to discuss the above and what the current plans look like for the UK Hoops Women’s Basketball team and other teams within the school.
“Today’s a big day for Kentucky because we are starting step one of our phased approach of coming back to campus, so we have some football players returning to campus today. We’re going to do that over the course of the summer, and we’re still in the very first step, but we’re very hopeful we can get everybody back on campus at some point. I know our basketball team is very excited and we’re staying in contact with them. Our plan right now is to do a virtual summer for middle of June through July, and our hope is to get our team back on campus in late July. A lot has to happen between now and then, but at least there’s some plan to get that done. Each sport is handling that the best way they know how.”
This timeline would be great. While the athletes wouldn’t get much physical interaction, the connection and strategy behind the game can still be maintained through the virtual meetings.
Mitchell also talked about last year’s team and how the positive momentum could’ve played out in the NCAA Tournament.
“We’ll never know, but I’ll tell you what was a great satisfaction to us, out of what was a devastating end to the season,” he said. “Because we did believe we had the type of team that was built to go deep in the tournament. We had a lot of positives going for us and we felt like the ten days off between the SEC Tournament was going to give us some good time to re-energize, so we were looking forward to it.”
Rhyne Howard was a standout for the Wildcats last year, and has been pegged as one of the best all-around women’s players in the league. Hopefully she and her teammates can get back on the court soon and build on that momentum that was started last season.
With this news from Mitchell, it shows that things are headed in the right direction. As long as everything holds steady over the next month, there’s no reason we won’t see College sports this fall.
Fans are unlikely, but trust that we will all be watching and supporting our teams on TV at home.