After what he described as a "tremendous summer" in spite of the circumstances, Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann told a Columbus radio show Thursday night that he is expecting college basketball to have a 2020-21 season in some form.
What it will look like and when it will get started remains unknown, Holtmann told The Buckeye Show on WBNS-FM (97.1).
"The thing we have to answer as a sport is, what does our calendar look like now?" Holtmann said "We don’t anticipate being on the traditional calendar. The reality is the start date is probably going to be moved back."
Chris Holtmann 8-20-20 https://t.co/K8lBAtPXyo— Buckeye Show (@TheBuckeyeShow) August 20, 2020
The sport is increasingly looking at the concept of playing regular-season games in addition to the NCAA Tournament in bubbles, trying to best mimic the success enjoyed by professional leagues amid the COVID-19 pandemic. NCAA president Mark Emmert has publicly endorsed the idea, and it’s something Holtmann said he feels could be doable even with amateur athletes.
"There are some challenges with the bubble for college players," Holtmann said. "Having said that I think there’ve been a lot of ideas that have been tossed around, some of these preseason tournaments, Maui, Battle 4 Atlantis, all of those either in one big bubble or separate bubbles. The bubble has merit. There are some challenges to it. It wouldn’t be what the NBA or the NHL had. It probably wouldn’t look exactly like that. It couldn’t, probably."
Ohio State was scheduled to be a first-time participant in the Battle 4 Atlantis, held annually in the Bahamas. The field has taken one hit already: The Pac 12 has announced that it will play no sports for the remainder of the year, keeping Utah from participating.
Since the Pac 12’s announcement, the Battle 4 Atlantis webpage has been updated. All team logos have been removed and replaced by a message encouraging visitors to check back later for more information.
Earlier this week, NCAA senior vice president for basketball Dan Gavitt said the NCAA is aiming to have a plan for the sport in mid-September. November 10 is scheduled to be the first day for games.
"We recognize that we are living and operating in an uncertain time, and it is likely that mid-September will be just the first milestone for many important decisions pertaining to the regular season and the NCAA basketball championships," Gavitt said.
College basketball could be afforded a unique opportunity to play games on empty campuses from Thanksgiving until whenever students return. It’s a possibility Holtmann said Big Ten coaches have been discussing on weekly Zoom conference calls that take place Thursday mornings.
"To a man, we would all support and very much be in favor of using that window of when the students leave, Thanksgiving-on, to try to do competition," he said. "We would all love to see that as a possibility. Now, the NCAA has to support that. Your league has to support it. I don’t know that that’s going to be the start date, I just know that has a lot of momentum among not just coaches but certainly our athletes, administrators."