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College Basketball’s Orlando-based MTEs are reportedly in serious doubt

Photo: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Photo: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This could potentially have a direct impact on Kentucky’s inclusion in the Champions Classic, which is scheduled to tipoff in Orlando.

According to CBS Sports college basketball insider Matt Norlander, “Widespread concern is quickly escalating over the stability — if not survival — of every Orlando-based ESPN event.”

Norlander posted all of his thoughts and news regarding the situation in a detailed Twitter thread, which you can click on below, but essentially, this situation could impact more than two dozen Power 5 programs who are expected to participate in a multi-team event down at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL. The environments would act as “Bubbles”, similar to what the NBA did in Orlando to finish up its 2019-20 season this past summer.

The most immediate issue presented to Kentucky Athletics and the Wildcat fanbase is the status of the Champions Classic that features the ‘Cats, Kansas, Michigan State, and Duke. Kentucky and Kansas are slated to play on Dec. 1 in the annual event, which Norlander said: “is going to happen in whatever capacity.” He expects major announcements regarding scheduling decisions to come in the next 2-3 days.

Norlander strung together 17 tweets in his thread detailing the situation, and I would highly encourage you to read over every single one (which have been conveniently lined up at this website), but here are some of his highlights that I believe to be the most pertinent.

  • “A month ago, it seemed as though if there was going to be ONE location that was going to be the most secure in terms of attracting teams and holding MTEs, it was Orlando. That’s simply no longer the case.”
  • “At this point, conferences (let alone schools) have different regulations in place for testing. And those differences in opinion and regulations have created a ripple effect of liability and flexibility (or lack thereof) that’s made things difficult to securely schedule.”
  • “ESPN released two editions of its protocols to teams last week but the measures laid out were not enough to assuage concerns for many. One rule: if someone in your traveling party test positive for COVID, you have to be quarantined in Orlando for 14 days at the team’s expense.”
  • “No game or MTE’s been 86’d. There’s still a path for Orlando, but one source calls it ‘a long shot.’ Another said it’s 50/50 they play there. Another said they’d put it at less than 25%. Yet another said ‘ESPN knows it’s on the fritz … my best guess is the whole thing folds.'”
  • “Multiple coaches + administrators I’ve talked to are dumbfounded by the fact that when they step back and look at the calendar, they can’t believe we’re a month out from start of season and this is still the state of affairs with scheduling. Major decisions need to come this week.”

The initial good news from all of this is that Norlander believes the Champions Classic will play out regardless of what happens with the other MTEs. The bad news is we’re exactly one month from the start of the regular season and scheduling problems are seemingly getting more and more complicated. Orlando-based MTEs breaking down could have an indirect impact on Kentucky’s schedule going forward.

If only the NCAA and Power 5 conferences had the last, oh I don’t know, seven months to figure out these issues, we might not be in the situation… But I digress.

Article written by Zack Geoghegan

Recruiting reporter for KSR. Follow me on Twitter: @ZGeogheganKSR

18 Comments for College Basketball’s Orlando-based MTEs are reportedly in serious doubt

  1. eyebleedblue
    11:39 am October 25, 2020 Permalink

    Can’t ESPN or Disney get their slaves in China to build a bubble to protect from the virus they started?

  2. runningunnin.454
    11:48 am October 25, 2020 Permalink

    Let’s all just curl up and die; can’t shut everything down like some states have; the country can’t take that. On the other hand, we have to be smart…unlike Auburn students in the bars, and the fans I watched at the Georgia and Texas A&M football games, their arms around each other and no masks, all sitting on top of each other.
    BTW, the cardboard fans at the Big10-14 games are the silliest things I’ve ever seen.

  3. UKFanSC
    11:50 am October 25, 2020 Permalink

    As the virus reestablishes itself in the fall it is insane to believe that winter sports are going to occur without a hitch. This year‘s basketball season will be a freaking mess. We spend five months worrying about Olivier Sarr’s eligibility, only to have the realities of COVID-19 smack us in the face.

  4. Wildfelinebeeline
    11:59 am October 25, 2020 Permalink

    My thought is that ESPN will “miraculously” find a solution so that they can reap the TV rewards like they did with the NBA. I really don’t see them making teams pay for any COVID positive players if they are going to make a boatload of money off the games.

  5. mashman 93
    11:59 am October 25, 2020 Permalink

    Get it figured out and play the damn games you bunch of wussies!!!!

  6. TrueBluePhil
    12:01 pm October 25, 2020 Permalink

    Covid drama will go away after the election

    • UKgrad80
      12:27 pm October 25, 2020 Permalink

      Yes like it went away in April? Get your head out of your ass dude!

    • mashman 93
      1:18 pm October 25, 2020 Permalink

      The election hasn’t happened yet genius so he could be right.

  7. CahillsCrossingNT
    12:43 pm October 25, 2020 Permalink

    I advocated canceling the football season before it started and will now do so with basketball. Until covid is eliminated, that should be the case. It’s just too dangerous.

    • mashman 93
      1:17 pm October 25, 2020 Permalink

      God forbid any athlete die from this or get seriously ill, oh wait that hasn’t happened.

    • sharpshooter81
      7:57 pm October 25, 2020 Permalink

      Hate to break it to you but Covid will never be “eliminated”. We must figure out how to live with it in our daily lives and you can’t shut down the economy or sports for this virus. more and more people are going to get it and that is a fact. Life goes on, as it should!!!

    • mashman 93
      8:47 pm October 25, 2020 Permalink

      So very true sharpshooter.

  8. Lip Man 1
    1:32 pm October 25, 2020 Permalink

    Mash: Actually is HAS happened a college player at a smaller school in Penn. died from COVID related heart issues. His Mom went to congress to testify over it.

    Try a little research before you make yourself look like a friggin’ idiot (yet again…)

    • mashman 93
      2:02 pm October 25, 2020 Permalink

      People like you want to live in fear and we can’t do that buddy. I am sorry for anyone who dies with this or from this but we a 99.7 percent recovery rate on this man. Sorry for the name calling let’s stop that ok.

    • rickat
      2:08 pm October 25, 2020 Permalink

      Trashman, he said “COVID related heart issues”.

    • mashman 93
      2:15 pm October 25, 2020 Permalink

      Mind your business son

    • 4everUKBlue
      4:43 pm October 25, 2020 Permalink

      So the truth is he had heart related issues and the doctors coded his death as covid just as they have been incentivized to do. It’s a fact that doctors are being paid big money to code deaths as covid even if there is no testing. Try a little research outside of the MSM Lip Man. Btw, what are you doing out of your bubble?

  9. mashman 93
    1:59 pm October 25, 2020 Permalink

    Heart related issues snowflake. I get it now get back in your bunker.