As University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Athletic Director Amanda Braun has been holding hard conversations with the coaches of fall sports teams to let them know their seasons have been halted due to COVID-19 concerns, she is also among hundreds of athletic directors beginning to tackle the question of whether NCAA basketball and other winter sports can move forward or if they must enter delays.
“We’re starting that conversation right now,” Braun told WTMJ’s Scott Warras on Friday. “We’ll go through the same process that we did with fall sports. The difference is, football is not a factor in Division 1.”
That plays a major role in terms of who gets to decide whether basketball can move forward in November as planned, or not – and how it might happen. College football’s conference have more autonomy on decisions, but the NCAA ultimately decides the fate of its basketball championship tournament. They were the ones who ultimately pulled the plug on the 2020 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships at the time the coronavirus pandemic deeply struck the United States.
“I think there will be a more uniform approach. The NCAA National Office, because they do oversee (basketball), we’ll see a much more organized effort. Timeline? I think by sometime in early October, we’ll need to have an understanding of what the season’s going to look like.”
The Pac-12 conference has already halted all sports for the 2020 calendar year, including basketball. Marquette’s men’s basketball team had been scheduled to play at UCLA in December, but that game has been suspended for now.
As for the tournament itself, Braun believes basketball tournaments could be held in bubbles, similar to the NBA’s bubble.
“I feel like you could probably do that with the NCAA Tournament when it comes to basketball.”
“They’ll work through that. That’s something we’re exploring. As we’ve seen with the NBA, it does appear to be working.”