The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has taken over the world in such a short period of time. It has made a large impact on many different aspects of everyday life, such as health, jobs, communities, and sports. One sport season in particular that the virus has affected is the upcoming winter basketball season. Sports everywhere, especially contact sports, have been put on hold to limit the spread of the virus. Greenville University’s Men’s Basketball Coach George Barber commented on how Covid-19 will inevitably change the season. “The NCAA released several weeks ago that teams could begin the first official practice on October 1, 2020.” This is different than the usual start date of October 15. In reference to when the first games will be played, Coach Barber commented, “It’s still in the air because our first game was scheduled to be at Washington State. We were going to fly out on November 5, 2020 and play a couple of scrimmage games. We were also going to play CCIW schools around Chicago, but their administration canceled all of their non-conference games. For now, all other games are on hold.” Many teams are still figuring out what their season will look like.
Coach Barber went on to talk about other schools and how pandemic sports will work in their state. Washington State is one of the schools Greenville was scheduled to play in Washington this season. Barber explained that the state of Washington is primarily focused on people’s health. Therefore, gaining money through sports is not their top priority – the health of the residents is. This will play a part in the decision to follow through with the games. Many fans are wondering if there will be a conference championship this year. Coach Barber said, “I wish we could. There is a push for all ACC schools such as Duke, North Carolina, and Louisville to have a championship. All ACC schools have signed a form which states that they would like to have a conference season, conference tournament, and an NCAA tournament where every team is eligible. The NCAA is pushing to do a bubble as the NBA has done.” GU fans are also wondering how many games will be on the schedule this year. Barber said, “It’s 25 games in all, but it’s still yet to be determined due to the pandemic. The rule is that we can only play conference teams, and there are 8 teams in our conference. We will play each team twice, so if we only play conference teams, there will only be 16 games this season.”
The pandemic has effected everyone’s communities and everyday life, and the GU men’s basketball team is no exception. The new regulations not only affected the sports world, but all had to adapt to the new norm. Basketball has always been a way to bring the youth and communities together, and all of that has been disrupted. Hopefully, the COVID-19 curve will eventually flatten and the season can move forward as normal.
Media by Madelyn Stephen.