A lot of conversations have happened over the idea of conference tournaments happening in 2021 due to the risks with COVID-19.
However, there is another issue on the horizon that is more pressing than the concerns being expressed over the conference tournaments.
Matt Norlander of CBS Sports reported on Thursday that the possibility of the college basketball season being shut down, at least briefly, is growing.
“Multiple conference commissioners and athletic directors told CBS Sports in the past week-plus that there is a growing sense of nervousness over the stability of the college basketball season — and all winter collegiate sports — for the next few weeks.”
Norlander noted that a big reason for this nervousness is around Joe Biden now being in office. With the new President, NCAA officials are waiting to see and bracing for the possibility of federal shutdowns that could impact numerous schools and causing a midseason pause.
The other big concern that could have a major impact on college basketball moving forward in 2021 is students retuning to college campuses for the Spring semester.
“There has been concern, there is concern and will be concern going forward,” Big Sky commissioner Tom Wistrcill said. “The virus has been really unpredictable. It’s been hard for us to manage as a country, it’s hard for our level, both from getting students back to classes and getting into school, and for basketball teams to travel around and get games in. Everything I’ve tried to guess and plan out about the virus hasn’t worked. It’s really hard to sit here today on the 19th of January and say, ‘I’ve got a really good feeling about this, this and this going forward.”
During the break, college basketball teams were operating without the student body on campus, but they were still seeing roughly 20% of games being postponed. We saw that first-hand when Kentucky’s game against South Carolina had to be postponed.
The belief is that February is going to be the most critical month for most leagues because it is getting to the time that games can no longer be postponed but rather, they will have to be cancelled.
If the season does get put on halt, the NCAA will have to push the NCAA Tournament back to April or even May, because they can’t lose the tournament for a second year in a row. That would be a disaster for all of college athletics.