By Andre Monroe
The concept of a bubble was originated by the NBA. The purpose is to slow the spread of the coronavirus while also allowing players to finish the season. And so far, it has worked. In the NBA, no players have tested positive for COVID since entering the bubble. Same result in the NHL. Meanwhile, MLB has had to postpone many games due to the threat of COVID. The MLB and NFL have both elected to not use a bubble, resulting in positive results off the charts.
The question is, though, would this concept also work for the NCAA?
College basketball is a different animal. You have young adults transitioning to the next phase of their life. It would be a challenge to contain them in hotel rooms, much like NBA players. Unlike professionals, they have actual classes to attend. And let’s be honest, preventing college athletes from engaging in social activities is nearly impossible. You’ll likely be successful in keeping professionals away from parties and other social functions. I don’t think I can say the same for 18-22-year-olds.
Jon Rothstein, CBS Sports College Basketball Insider, reported that several conferences in college basketball are weighing possible options for the winter season. One of those options being the bubble approach that some professional leagues have taken on.
While obviously flawed, having a bubble is very intriguing. Each power conference could have its own bubble, with players being able to take classes online. Teams in their respective conferences would compete with each other over a set period.
There are still many questions, and it would take precise planning, but the entire situation is a constant battle of risk and reward. Do the consequences of not having college sports outweigh those of having one? The NCAA will have to ask themselves while discussing a plan for the upcoming winter season.