COVID-19 has forced a new reality in college basketball. Silent stadiums, countless COVID tests, and postponed games have become the norm for college basketball athletes. The NCCA and its fans are attempting to have an optimistic mindset toward the season, yet COVID has shown little interest in pleasing them. For instance, the top two division one teams, Baylor and Gonzaga were scheduled to play on December 5th, this game was ultimately postponed due to a positive case. These issues apply to various top 25 ranked teams, many of them were forced to pause activities.
With this information, many questions are raised about how the famous March Madness tournament will occur. In 2019, March Madness grossed a profit of $933 million, demonstrating the significance it possesses. Experts question how the March Madness seeding will turn out with unusual circumstances. With constant cancellations and postponement, determining a team’s true skill will be extremely difficult. Many believe that the seeding will favor Power Five teams. These are the five most successful conferences in sports. Teams in less appreciated conferences may be overlooked because of the lack of games. This issue risks teams who deserve to be a part of March Madness not making it. This can result in a disappointing March Madness tournament if even one occurs this year.
The atmosphere of college basketball has been completely different than any other year. The strict restrictions put on teams have altered the mood of players and coaches. The New Mexico State head coach claimed, “It’s a different feel. Our families aren’t with us. It’s not a daily challenge; it’s an hourly challenge.” This attitude depicts the feeling of the majority of coaches and players. Their potential is being limited by the virus, which could greatly affect their basketball careers. Jack Schultz, a freshman who aspires to be a part of the basketball team at RHS states, “I am extremely disappointed that the season continues to be pushed back, I cannot wait to step on the court again.” The necessary COVID restrictions are making the college and high school basketball season an unenjoyable experience. Due to this, numerous people believe that forcing a season this year is not worth it.
The somewhat poor attempt of a college basketball season is proof that without some sort of a bubble, as seen by the NBA, basketball will be hard to replicate during the pandemic. The continuous cancellation of college games is further proof of this. The college basketball season does not seem sustainable at the current rate at which it is performing.
Graphic: Tess Cundiff