John Clay: As COVID-19 numbers increase, will Rupp Arena truly house fans?
LEXINGTON, Ky.– Are we truly going to do this? Are we actually going to begin the college basketball season next week as COVID-19 numbers continue to surge? Are we going to let 3,000 fans into Rupp Arena when we’re discouraging large family events for Thanksgiving?
Hold your boos, but I agree with Rick Pitino. Getting ready for his first season at Iona, the previous UK and Louisville coach told the New york city Post over the weekend, “The choice (of starting the season on Nov. 25) today is predestined for failure.”
Pitino backs the ACC coaches’ idea of allowing every group into the NCAA Competition. (Hey, we settle on that, too.) Because that concept has gotten little support, Pitino suggests moving the start of the season to March 2021 with conference-only schedules leading into a “Might Madness” tournament.
That’s not likely, particularly now that the NCAA Guys’s Basketball Tournament Selection Committee, chaired by UK Sports Director Mitch Barnhart, revealed Monday it remains in settlements to hold the whole 68-team competition in and around Indianapolis. (By the method, I agree with that concept, too.).
The financial reality of the matter is that having lost one basketball competition, the NCAA can’t manage to lose 2. There’s too much money at stake for both the institution itself and its members, the majority of which are taking substantial monetary hits today due to the fact that of the coronavirus.
However if the Hoosier bubble addresses the end of the season, what about the start? We are only a week away from Kentucky’s opener against Morehead State in Rupp Arena, after all. And in case you have not heard, the coronavirus did not disappear after the presidential election. Case numbers are on the increase all over. Simply Tuesday, Lexington set a one-month record with 2,838 new COVID-19 cases for November. That’s 34 more than we had in September, the previous high, and we have 2 weeks to precede December.
Take a look at what’s going on with college football today. Seventeen video games, including 4 SEC tilts, were postponed recently. No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 Ohio State and No. 5 Texas A&M all had video games held off. This Saturday’s Texas A&M- Ole Miss match has actually already been scrapped.
” Shaken, however not deterred,” was how SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey described last week.
Meanwhile, over 20 college basketball programs are currently on time out due to the fact that of COVID-19 with 60 having actually already suffered disturbances. Included because number is Connecticut, Iona, Seton Hall, Minnesota, Southern Illinois, Loyola-Chicago and Syracuse, where 76-year-old head coach Jim Boeheim revealed he has actually evaluated positive for COVID-19. The Ivy League has canceled winter season sports entirely.
There’s lots of factor for hope down the road. Pfizer revealed last week it has actually established a coronavirus vaccine that has actually proven 90% efficient. Monday, Moderna revealed its vaccine has actually revealed to be 95% reliable. Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb informed CNBC on Monday that “2021 is going to quickly end up being a far better year. We need to get through the 3 hardest months today. I’m hoping individuals can hunch down and acknowledge this is a short-lived sacrifice what we need to do over the next 2 or 3 months to preserve life.”.