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College Basketball Events in ESPN’s Orlando Bubble Have Been Canceled

College basketball bubble canceled

With a little less than a month until the college basketball season begins, several college basketball tournaments and multi-team events were set to be hosted in Orlando, Florida. However, according to The Athletic, because of “ongoing differences” between the participating schools over COVID-19 health and safety protocols they are canceled. This means over 24 programs will be losing games if a consensus on location and guidelines is not decided upon. 

The disagreement

In a statement Monday afternoon, ESPN announced, “Events set out to create a protected environment for teams to participate in early-season events in Orlando. Based on certain challenges surrounding testing protocols, we opted to resume these tournaments during the 2021-22 season.”

The main issue between schools expected to participate in the Orlando bubble was over how strict the protocols would be, according to CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander. The Atlantic reported that ESPN put forth guidelines that fall in line with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the NCAA. However, schools had differing views on how restrictive the protocols should be. There were also disputes on how to handle those who were tested positive.

What this means for College Basketball

This site, where the NBA bubble was hosted, was planned to have 10 non-conference events. This includes the Champions Classic, Myrtle Beach Invitational, NIT Season Tip-Off, Jimmy V Classic and more. 

If these events are canceled, this will be a huge letdown for college basketball fans around the world. The Champions Classic features exciting games between dominant programs: Michigan State vs. Duke and Kansas vs. Kentucky. The Jimmy V Classic was expected to feature top 10 teams Baylor vs. Illinois and Gonzaga vs. Tennessee.

College Basketball Insider Jon Rothstein reported Monday evening that Indianapolis has been discussed to be the location for the Champions Classic and Jimmy V Classic if played. However, nothing is final. 

Future

There has been lots of chaos lately, with many programs trying to get the most out of their shortened-schedule season. With events canceling only a month before the 2020-21 year is set to begin, this is not a great sign for college basketball. Recently, college presidents have been pushing for conference play only. However, at the moment, schools are still planned for non-conference games. Many decisions are still up in the air and the college basketball season is still a mystery to many.  

 

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