Rumors are swirling about the BIG EAST potentially using a “bubble” setting for the upcoming basketball season.
Sources: Several power conferences in college basketball have had preliminary discussions about holding games next season in a "bubble" type setting.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) August 6, 2020
This is one of many potential options on the table, but one that gains traction with student athletes taking classes online.
The Big East and Big Ten are two conferences that have discussed using a bubble for basketball this season, per sources. However, it’s just one of multiple options that has been discussed.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) August 6, 2020
Frankly, watching the “success” of the NBA, NHL, WNBA, and MLS compared with the MLB’s Miami Marlinfections, a bubble makes the most sense if a sports league is going to play games and still (pretend to) look after player safety. The Atlantic seems to agree.
As reported by Adam Zagoria two days ago, the NCAA cannot afford to lose another $375 million this year by canceling the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Zagoria also reported that the BIG EAST is considering playing conference-only games for the 2020-21 college basketball season as one of several options the conference is modeling. While Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard suggested an extended BIG EAST schedule of 25 games with all team using the same safety protocols and testing platform. November or January? Conference-only or non-conference? 15 games or 30? We need our college basketball! We’ll take whatever!
Rumors of the bubble as a tangible option can be seen as a positive step—or a negative reaction to a foreseeable outbreak like in the MLB. No one wants the headlines (or liability) from being part of an outbreak. Now with football and fall sports issues prompting a potential breakaway from the NCAA by the Power Five (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC), there is a lot at stake walking the tightrope between safety and money. Thus, the BIG EAST bubble talk is real.
With Georgetown announcing “virtual” classes in the Fall, a remote learning situation might even be easier for inclusion into a bubble.
A few Twitter folks have brought up questions of expense to host, house, and feed all 11 men’s basketball teams in a bubble. The NBA reportedly spent $150 MM on their bubble, of course with 22 teams, 8 seeding games, and playoffs through October. While we’re not talking about NBA money for a college bubble, I don’t think the BIG EAST can afford not to invest in the bubble. The schools are dependent upon that income.
The next question is, where would the BIG EAST Bubble be?
Madison Square Garden is still the focal point, as home of the BIG EAST Tournament, but the bustling megalopolis of NYC does little to prove positive in the isolation department.
Mohegan Sun, offered by reintroduced UConn fans who just watched their football season evaporate, might present an interesting option. I’m not sure of the full resort amenities, or if they are as robust as, e.g., Las Vegas or even Atlantic City, but it seems more easily isolated.
Chicago was a popular pick for rumors of a second NBA bubble, but presents isolation issues similar to New York.
I think a warmer climate would likely make more sense, and while Florida is on the shitlist, Disney/Orlando seems to have room for everyone. With the NBA Playoffs set to finish in mid-October, basketball courts may be open for college teams to take over—unless the NBA’s presumed 2021 start in December requires those Disney courts again.
Potentially, conferences could link-up and do a double-bubble. This might be easier to pull off with bigger resorts.
I think it’s be fun to have 2 or 3 conferences sync up for a joint bubble in Dec-Jan. Like, it’s the Big Ten/MAC/MVC Bubble. Or the Big East/A10/Horizon Bubble— Jon Nyatawa (@JonNyatawa) August 6, 2020
Then you host an NCAA tournament bubble in April/May
Moreover, the roster may indeed still be in flux as, like news of the NFL’s opt-out deadline, the NCAA appears to be allowing student-athletes the chance to opt out. Eligibility accommodations for Fall sports athletes must be known by August 14th.
“Our decisions place emphasis where it belongs — on the health and safety of college athletes.”— Inside the NCAA (@InsidetheNCAA) August 5, 2020
– NCAA President Mark Emmert pic.twitter.com/bIbVqiJM4V
Where should the BIG EAST Bubble be located?
This poll is closed
Madison Square Garden