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Champions Classic looking for new location as ESPN cancels Orlando events

Photo: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Photo: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With coronavirus case numbers rising nationwide, ESPN is pulling the plug on its plans to host events in the Orlando bubble, including the Champions Classic. According to Seth Davis, ongoing differences between ESPN and the participating schools prompted the network’s decision to scrap the bubble plan, but they still hope to host the Champions Classic elsewhere. The event, which features Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State, and Duke, was scheduled to take place December 1.

Here’s more from The Athletic:

The plans broke down mainly because ESPN was trying to abide by guidelines handed down by the Centers for Disease Control and the NCAA, which are more restrictive than the protocols many conferences are planning to implement. The biggest point of contention was ESPN’s desire to stick by the guideline stating that anyone who has tested positive for coronavirus must be re-tested after that person has been clear for 90 days. Several schools balked at the idea of retesting players that soon. “The 90-day testing protocol became the key sticking point,” Overby said. “Once we laid that out there were individual schools who couldn’t agree because their conference rules are more open-ended with respect to when you test someone again who has contracted the virus.”

A reminder of Kentucky’s schedule as we know it:

  • Lexington pod (scheduled for Nov. 25, 27, and 29)
    • Kentucky will play Richmond, Detroit Mercy, Morehead State
  • Champions Classic (originally scheduled for Dec. 1, location TBD)
    • Kentucky will play Kansas
  • Holiday Hoopsgiving (scheduled for Dec. 6)
    • Kentucky will play Georgia Tech
  • Kentucky vs. Notre Dame (scheduled for Dec. 12)
  • CBS Sports Classic (originally scheduled for Dec. 19)
    • Kentucky will play UCLA
  • Kentucky vs. Louisville (scheduled for Dec. 26)
  • SEC schedule (begins Dec. 29 and 30)
    • 20 play dates, 18-game conference schedule
  • Big 12/SEC Challenge (target date is January 30th, 2021)
    • Kentucky will play Texas

UPDATE: According to Jon Rothstein, Indianapolis is the early favorite to host the Champions Classic and Jimmy V Classic.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

2 Comments for Champions Classic looking for new location as ESPN cancels Orlando events

  1. Lip Man 1
    2:46 pm October 26, 2020 Permalink

    Reading the stories I find it very sad that basically the reason the schools pulled out is because the protocols were in essence “to hard…”

    That’s right, keeping kids as safe as humanly possible under these circumstances is apparently to much to bear for these programs. I hope the athletes understand just what went down and why.

    Just mind blowing the stupidity being shown daily across this country in all walks of life.

  2. UKCatAttack
    3:50 pm October 26, 2020 Permalink

    I’m not sure I understand how a different site would be any different than Orlando. This makes no sense and it’s not like any of us will be able to go so who really cares where the games are played??