NCAA’s Dan Gavitt confident there will be a college basketball season

The cancellation of the Big Ten and Pac 12 fall football seasons sent shockwaves through college sports Tuesday.

For college basketball fans, especially fans of the Dayton Flyers, who saw a historic season come to an abrupt end in March, there is a growing concern of seeing another season affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s senior vice president of basketball, remains confident the NCAA tournament will take place in 2021 and said Wednesday all sorts of contingency plans are being considered. The NCAA has been studying what makes most sense for college basketball in the 2020-21 season since last season ended March 12.

“We’re three months away from the scheduled start of the college basketball season,” Gavitt told on Wednesday. “We recognize what’s going on around the country and have been making plans for a change if necessary, but we’re also trying to exercise patience, making sure we learn as much as we can from all the other sports that are happening right now, notably the NBA and WNBA and the success they are having.”

Earlier this month, Gavitt said a decision about the season would be made in September. He said Wednesday, “We remain very confident we are going to have a basketball season, albeit in a different form and maybe altered as necessary by the virus. We don’t control the virus. The virus controls us.”

The college basketball season is scheduled to start Nov. 10. Dayton has not announced its full non-conference schedule but its earliest known games are in the Myrtle Beach Invitational in South Carolina on Nov. 19, 20 and 22.

That tournament has been affected by the pandemic. Penn was one of the possible opponents, but with the Ivy League suspending all sports for the fall semester, Penn was replaced in the field by Furman. Other possible opponents for Dayton are Charlotte, Loyola, Missouri, Nebraska, Pittsburgh and Utah State.

Dayton Athletic Director Neil Sullivan said last week UD was close to finalizing its schedule.

“Just a couple finishing things and a couple details,” Sullivan said, “but I don’t think it’ll be too long.”

Neither Wright State or Miami has announced their non-conference schedules either.

The Ivy League isn’t the only Division I conference that won’t be playing basketball in November and December. The Pac 12 made the same decision Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Gavitt said the NCAA is looking into following the approach of the NBA and WNBA and playing games in a bubble.

“Certainly when classes are in full session,” Gavitt said, “a true bubble is just not a reality for college sports, but during the month of late November and into December when most of our schools are going to be in virtual learning environments or after exams during the traditional holiday break, that is potentially an opportunity to create regionalized and very controlled environments in bubble-like scenarios for non-conference or conference games. I know some conferences have made decisions about waiting until January and we’re respectful of those decisions, but we need to take advantage of opportunities as well.”

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