As conferences scramble to make college football work this fall, the powers that be in college basketball are determined not to make the same mistakes. Yesterday, NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt said the organization is exploring “bubble-like scenarios” for the non-conference season, and it turns out a blueprint is already making the rounds.
Rhossi Carron, the founder of U-Sports Group, reached out to 50 teams with his plan for “Battle in the Bubble,” a 20-team event in Houston in December. Over three weeks, teams would play an entire non-conference schedule in a safe, controlled environment. Teams would be split into two 10-team divisions, with each squad quarantining on their own campuses for seven days once the rest of the student body goes home for Thanksgiving and an additional three days upon their arrival in Houston. They would travel to Houston by charter plane or bus and be tested when they arrive at the bubble and every other day after. Like the NBA Bubble in Orlando, the area would be completely isolated, with no one allowed to leave and all meals eaten on the event campus. Carron said he’s already reached out to several hotels in the Houston area and hopes to partner with a local hospital to guarantee accurate testing and fast results.
Carron didn’t release the names of the schools he sent the proposal to, but even if Kentucky isn’t one of them, it’s good to see plans being passed around for a real solution. As Gavitt said yesterday, the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas could be ideal.
“There are some opportunities in the season, as well, certainly when classes are in session, where a true bubble is just not a reality for college sports,” he said. “But during the month of late November and into December when most of our schools are in virtual learning environments and/or after exams during the traditional holiday break, that is potentially an opportunity to create regionalized and controlled environments in bubble-like scenarios for non-conference or conference games. Some conferences have made decisions about waiting until January, and we’re respectful of those decisions, but we need to take advantage of opportunities, as well.”
Jack Pilgrim drew up the plan for an SEC bubble in Lexington last week, but which teams would you want to see in Kentucky’s non-conference bubble?