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Small Glimmer of Hope as NCAA Would Consider Postponed Tournament

Written by:
Don Shapiro
Published on:
Mar/14/2020

The NCAA considered the top 16 teams in the nation playing an extended weekend tournament starting on that Friday concluding with a Final on Monday.


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"Far from ideal. Far from perfect," Gavitt said. "Imperfect as it may be, that was one of the only reasonable options we thought we could at least maintain some level of our tournaments."

"Far from ideal. Far from perfect," NCAA vice president of men's basketball Dan Gavitt said. "Imperfect as it may be, that was one of the only reasonable options we thought we could at least maintain some level of our tournaments."

"We did spend a significant amount of time very late Wednesday night trying to figure out alternative models," Gavitt said.

The reality set in quickly that even a shortened tournament could not be pulled off without putting people at risk, and the NCAA's biggest event of the year was canceled Thursday afternoon.

Then came the idea of holding the tournament later in the spring, perhaps in May.

NCAA president Mark Emmert said the idea of postponing the tournament indefinitely, with the hope of playing it later, also wasn't feasible.

"The immediate logistical problems were that we had this rapidly, continuing right now, number of schools that were shutting down," Emmert said. "We had the reality that if you start a tournament six weeks from now a bunch of our students and our seniors will have moved on. And when you looked at the projections of where the virus was going to be in six weeks it looks worse, not better."

But with the entire economy in limbo, the NBA postponing its season and universities shut down across the nation, a total reset in late spring or early summer isn't entirely out of the realm of possibility, not to mention the positive impact on the economy.  Cities would likely bend over backwards to accommodate the NCAA.  That is assuming the coronavirus pandemic comes under control by then.

"If I have learned anything from this it's to be reminded to never say never," Emmert told AP. "And so the answer to that is of course the board and everyone else will consider anything that makes good public policy sense. Those decisions are going to be driven by medical science and there would have to be a very clear, unequivocal, all-clear determination by public health officials and our advisory panel. Sitting here today that's very hard to imagine."

- Don Shapiro, Gambling911.com

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