Despite the continued concerns around college sports due to the Coronavirus pandemic, John Calipari still believes that college basketball can find a way to play the NCAA Tournament in 2021.
Thursday night, Coach Cal made an appearance on ESPN Radio’s The Intersection to talk about the safety measures they have taken to safely prepare for the upcoming season. He also explained how professional basketball organizations like the NBA have set an example that college basketball can follow.
“Here at Kentucky, we’re truly in a bubble. The lodge where the kids stay and the practice facility, which is our own and the weight training, training room, the cook and everything — we’re in a bubble. The thing that’s happened for all of us in basketball is the NBA and the WNBA have shown a path for us to have a season.”
He continued, “There’s not going to be people on campus after Thanksgiving. It probably opens up a door after Thanksgiving that even if we’re not having fans, there’s going to be a safe campus based on your team’s going to be there by themselves.
“Going forward, we’ve gotta listen to the science. We’ve gotta listen to the doctors. We gotta make sure our kids are safe. But the NBA and the WNBA has given us a path that we can do this, including the NCAA Tournament. We can play the NCAA tournament in a bubble.
“Instead of it being weeks on weeks long, maybe it’s shorter. You lose, you’re out of the bubble. You go home. I think that basketball is different. You’re talking a team of 12 and probably a party of 22. It’s totally different than most of the other sports.”
Coach Cal’s concern is the player’s safety which is why he believes the best place for the athletes is on campus in a “bubble” setting.
“They are safer on our campus,” he said. “You’re not going to have to go to the emergency room if you ever did get sick. The precautions and the protocols we are taking are above and beyond, so I always say our guys are safer here. In the bubble we have at Kentucky, they are safer here. Whether we play or not that’s going to be up to the powers that be, but we do have a path that’s been shown to us.”
Calipari doesn’t know what the path to playing is, but he says we “gotta play” because he knows he has a very good team.
“I enjoy being in the gym with my guys. I got a good team too. For both of you, we gotta play. I got a really good team. It’s like, let’s go!”
How do you feel about the college basketball season being played in a “bubble” type setting?