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Pandemic Impacting College Sports in a Major Way

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A player runs across the NCAA logo during practice in Pittsburgh before an NCAA tournament basketball game in 2012. Photo: Keith Srakocic / Associated Press

By Evan Weiner |

It may be very difficult to complete the truncated college football season and the planned start of the college basketball season looks more like a dream than reality. Governors around the United States have sounded the fire alarm about the rapid spread of COVID-19 and perhaps the Power 5 football conferences should listen. But there is TV money and there are marketing partnerships and one thing you should know about the big-time college sports programs. Green comes before health concerns. The Ivy League, whose financial sports health doesn’t depend on massive TV deals, has decided to shut winter sports down. Last winter, the Ivy League schools ended the basketball season as the COVID-19 pandemic was in its infancy. The Patriot League has canceled its non-conference games. Iona coach Rick Pitino thinks all college basketball playing schools should put off the start of the season until there is COVID-19 containment. In a tweet, Pitino said. “Save the season. Move the start back. Play league schedule and have May Madness. Spiking and protocols make it impossible to play right now. CBS, one of the NCAA’s marketing partners, may not want March Madness or the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament in May because it is sweeps month where ratings are important for affiliate station’s advertising revenues. The ratings for a college basketball game may not be the same as a regularly scheduled show.

The NCAA hopes to get the basketball season off the ground at a Connecticut casino, a good place for college athletes to stay during the pandemic in hotel rooms with slot machines nearby. There is an arena on the premises. There would be 40 teams playing 45 games before no fans. It is scheduled over a 10-day period starting November 25th. The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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