The Pac-12 Conference was the first league to adjust its college basketball seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It probably will not be the last.
According to a report published Monday by CBS Sports, the NCAA has begun discussions regarding four different scenarios for the start of the college basketball season. Though sidelined, expect the Colorado Buffaloes to root for option No. 4.
The first option would be to start the season as usual with opening games on Nov. 10. The second and third options push the opening dates to Nov. 20 and Nov. 25, respectively. The final option would be to start the season on Dec. 4, with official preseason practices beginning Oct. 24.
As sports fans have learned since March, the situation likely will remain fluid until the season actually tips off — on Tuesday, the American Athletic Conference announced it is postponing its volleyball and soccer schedules, while football soldiers on. Yet any delay to the start of the college basketball world would be advantageous to the Buffs and the Pac-12, which has suspended all athletic competition until at least Jan. 1.
Colorado head coach Tad Boyle has been a proponent of using the Thanksgiving-through-New Year’s lull on campuses to play games while the bulk of each school’s students are on semester break. Tipping the season off later in November would achieve that goal, but it still would rob the Buffs and their 11 league peers of opportunities to compete while their national competition gets underway.
The loss of the early-season schedule robs CU of several chances to turn heads nationally, most notably at the Fort Myers Tip-Off in Florida, where the Buffs were set to play either Butler or Wisconsin in addition to South Florida. CU also lost two home games certain to bring above-par crowds to the Events Center, including a likely sellout against Kansas. The Buffs also were set to host Colorado State.
Also according to the CBS Sports report, the men’s basketball oversight committee and the men’s basketball selection committee are set to meet Wednesday, separately, to discuss the various season-opening scenarios.
On July 8, Evan Battey proclaimed via his Twitter account that, someday, he plans to be the head men’s basketball coach at Colorado.
Battey reiterated this goal recently with BuffZone. And while Battey is focused on being a voice for collegiate basketball players with his appointment last week to the inaugural NABC Player Development Coalition, Battey also understands some of the experience he absorbs might eventually help him whenever he embarks on that coaching career.
“The National Association of Basketball Coaches is such a high entity, that maybe I can get connections and get a coaching job,” Battey said. “I want to be the coach at CU. I love the game, I love everything about it. Just to be involved in NCAA athletics like this can definitely help you down the road.”
Like Battey, senior wing D’Shawn Schwartz said he is open to whatever creative solutions are offered in order to field a viable season — whether that means a regional and/or conference schedule or weekend mini pods in which teams might play several games during a relatively short window.
“It’s going to be interesting with what they decide to do. I don’t think it’s going to be traditional by any means,” Schwartz said. “I saw…fall sports getting a mandatory redshirt year (eligibility relief). If they look to do something like that for winter sports, that would be pretty interesting. That would be the ideal situation, honestly.”