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Thread: Could the NCAA succeed at creating an NBA-like bubble?

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    Default Could the NCAA succeed at creating an NBA-like bubble?

    Per Jon Rothstein on Twitter:
    Jon Rothstein
    @JonRothstein
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    Sources: Several power conferences in college basketball have had preliminary discussions about holding games next season in a "bubble" type setting.

    This is one of many potential options on the table, but one that gains traction with student athletes taking classes online.
    I think we could probably discuss this without major forays into politics, insults or similar thread-closing rhetoric. My first thought when I saw the post was, what does a bubble in college sports even look like? After I thought about what this might look like, the next question was, "Is it plausible, or even possible?" If the bubble is too easy to burst it is worthless.

    It doesn't seem logistically feasible to have so many athletes from multiple schools staying in one place off campus and taking classes online. I got thinking about a smaller bubble, which would be limited to each campus. One could remediate a fair amount of risk if you continue to work with the principle that contact tracers have been using throughout the epidemic. This principle is: a high-risk interaction, or "close contact" is any that involves 15 minutes of contact at less than 6 ft with a Covid-positive person two days before symptom onset. It was fairly easy to come up with a list of contacts, and my list was surprisingly small, when using this criteria. The universal compliance with PPE-use helps significantly with this measure because it eliminates a lot of casual contacts from inclusion.

    I would consider making this guideline more strict by lessening the length of time and extending the radius further than 6 ft. Both values are somewhat arbitrary and have been debated.

    Persons seem to be the most infectious 48-72 hrs prior to showing symptoms, so good adherence to social distancing and PPE use is key in all of this. You definitely expose persons to the disease well before you have any signs of it. This is the incredibly mercurial and annoying parts of the whole $%&! thing. This is the only time that I recall when an infection is MORE infectious before one becomes symptomatic.

    Another key component, it seems to me, would be sequestering athletes in a separate dorm or dorms, or perhaps specific floors of the dorms. It would make contact tracing much easier and would be putting like-minded individuals together for accountability and positive reinforcement of behaviors. One could even cater food into these dorms if this was deemed to be another necessary measure to further insulate the athletes. (The NBA's recent chicken wings at the strip club incident comes to mind). I know that upperclassmen tend to live in apartments and houses with roommates, who are often other teammates. Keeping non-essential people away from them and keeping the athletes accountable during an entire season seems tricky, but the benefit would be that it creates a smaller cohort of "family" to also potentially get infected.

    A Covid recovery and Covid quarantine area would be critical. It is so hard to self-isolate within one's own home, so it would seem paramount to have a designated area for the sick and the exposed to go while they wait things out for 14 days.

    With the resources that colleges have, one could even employ persons who do personal shopping for the athletes on a regular basis to assure that they have all of the things they need to feel halfway normal.

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    I brought this up before. Given that almost all schools are wrapping up the fall semester by Thanksgiving, I think you could get a truncated season in, maybe a conference only similar to what NCAA football is doing. You can have the players isolated on a virtually empty campus. If need be, all the conference teams could go to one location and knock out conference play in a bubble during the break behind closed doors. Then the NCAA needs to do the same sort of thing for the tournament, compress it.

    It is something I would hope someone is planning. It would not be ideal, but better than nothing if it comes to that option.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kitzbuel View Post
    I brought this up before. Given that almost all schools are wrapping up the fall semester by Thanksgiving, I think you could get a truncated season in, maybe a conference only similar to what NCAA football is doing. You can have the players isolated on a virtually empty campus. If need be, all the conference teams could go to one location and knock out conference play in a bubble during the break behind closed doors. Then the NCAA needs to do the same sort of thing for the tournament, compress it.

    It is something I would hope someone is planning. It would not be ideal, but better than nothing if it comes to that option.
    I think this is pretty close to what you'd end up doing. It'd be a shorter and more intense season, but if you cancelled non-conference play, wrapped up the semester, or even were just in the process of wrapping it up online, then headed into a 4-6 week conference season that essentially combines the conference season and the conference tournament, you could then move to some form of an NCAA tournament using a fairly similar format. It only somewhat resembles a normal season, but it'd be something, I suppose.
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    Apparently Big-10 and Big East are considering this option already.

    This popped in my feed just after I posted.


    https://syndication.bleacherreport.c...ubble.amp.html


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    NBA has had NO (zero) infections for three weeks as of today with the players in the Bubble. Quite impressive. Strict adherence. Hotels to Arena and back. Shopping inside hotel but all things they need such as food, is completely delivered. FYI. Mortality overall has now dropped to 3.2%. New cases up a bit but deaths dropped as of today.
    Last edited by MDABE80; 08-08-2020 at 04:17 PM.

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    Certainly possible for ncaa first rounds, regionals and final 4. Conference tourneys too. Prob is how to conduct a meaningful regular season. How about an all conference games season that consists of 2 or 3 bubble sessions — around Xmas, end of January, end of February. Handful of games each session. Play multiple games each day, teams play every other day. Then the conference tourney. Maybe 20-22 games in all. Enough to judge qualification for March madness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzdelmar View Post
    Certainly possible for ncaa first rounds, regionals and final 4. Conference tourneys too. Prob is how to conduct a meaningful regular season. How about an all conference games season that consists of 2 or 3 bubble sessions — around Xmas, end of January, end of February. Handful of games each session. Play multiple games each day, teams play every other day. Then the conference tourney. Maybe 20-22 games in all. Enough to judge qualification for March madness.
    I would consider one session from end of Nov to beginning of Feb? Plenty of time to train, play a conference round robin and a tournament.


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    Quote Originally Posted by kitzbuel View Post
    I would consider one session from end of Nov to beginning of Feb? Plenty of time to train, play a conference round robin and a tournament.


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    What about school? Assume all online?

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    What if the WCC decides to cancel the season instead of doing a bubble? What are the chances GU could bubble themselves and play other teams this year? Maybe even join another conference’s bubble, just for this year, under these unique circumstances.
    It's peanut butter jelly time!

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    The NBA bubble experiment has a little more than two months to go.

    How many conferences need to fold before the NCAA shuts the season down?
    Parlez-vous français?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzdelmar View Post
    What about school? Assume all online?
    If it is run from end of November through mid-January it is almost all done during the break.

    Minimizes course conflicts.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mantua View Post
    The NBA bubble experiment has a little more than two months to go.

    How many conferences need to fold before the NCAA shuts the season down?
    The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind.
    The answer is blowin' in the wind.

    I have many reasons for optimism, as there are many indicators that this virus is on the decline. Thankfully, basketball is a winter sport, which buys some time for the data to continue to trend lower (hopefully).

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPtheBeasta View Post
    The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind.
    The answer is blowin' in the wind.

    I have many reasons for optimism, as there are many indicators that this virus is on the decline. Thankfully, basketball is a winter sport, which buys some time for the data to continue to trend lower (hopefully).
    I am neither optimistic nor pessimistic.

    My heart says Go Down Trend! And Go Zags!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mantua View Post
    I am neither optimistic nor pessimistic.

    My heart says Go Down Trend! And Go Zags!
    Hear! Hear! Go Zags!!

    (I am optimistic, possibly to a fault.)

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    anything, anything
    is so much better than nothing
    schools could make some money, too if something can be worked out

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    I think bubble restrictions would have to be tighter than they are for pros, teenagers and young 20-somethings being who they are.

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    The easiest scenario would be a centralized location where the teams could all isolate and then play 3 games a week, every other day with Sundays off, for 6 weeks, Thanksgiving through the first week of January.
    That would play all 18 games of the conference schedule.
    The problem then is that there would be a layoff until early March, when the conference tournament would be held. A lot of rust could build up and not the best for preparing for March Madness.

    It would be doable. With frequent testing, complete sanitation of the facilities daily and surface sanitation between games. No fans, friends or outside spectators. It would suck, but it would be doable.
    It's not funny.

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    It's not happening.

    I've believed this for about 2-3 months, and my glimmer of hope has now disappeared with multiple college FB conferences cancelling their season. There is simply no way to coordinate the cost, logistics, and leadership structure necessary to make a bubble or any type of modified college sports season happen this year. It's devastating for a number of reasons, and I'm crushed for the Zags.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zagfan24 View Post
    It's not happening.

    I've believed this for about 2-3 months, and my glimmer of hope has now disappeared with multiple college FB conferences cancelling their season. There is simply no way to coordinate the cost, logistics, and leadership structure necessary to make a bubble or any type of modified college sports season happen this year. It's devastating for a number of reasons, and I'm crushed for the Zags.
    Many are rescheduling the fall sports to spring. Hoops is a winter sport. I expect it to go forward unless there is a huge spike in the virus.
    It's not funny.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willandi View Post
    Many are rescheduling the fall sports to spring. Hoops is a winter sport. I expect it to go forward unless there is a huge spike in the virus.
    Hoops is a winter sport, sure. But creating the type of bubble the OP is talking about took months of planning for 22 teams, with a centralized governing body, in one city, with adult professional athletes, a players union, no academic obligations, and extensive financial resources. None of those factors apply to college basketball. The planning and organization of such an effort would already need to be well underway, if it was possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willandi View Post
    The easiest scenario would be a centralized location where the teams could all isolate and then play 3 games a week, every other day with Sundays off, for 6 weeks, Thanksgiving through the first week of January.
    That would play all 18 games of the conference schedule.
    The problem then is that there would be a layoff until early March, when the conference tournament would be held. A lot of rust could build up and not the best for preparing for March Madness.

    It would be doable. With frequent testing, complete sanitation of the facilities daily and surface sanitation between games. No fans, friends or outside spectators. It would suck, but it would be doable.
    Quote Originally Posted by willandi View Post
    Many are rescheduling the fall sports to spring. Hoops is a winter sport. I expect it to go forward unless there is a huge spike in the virus.
    Quote Originally Posted by zagfan24 View Post
    Hoops is a winter sport, sure. But creating the type of bubble the OP is talking about took months of planning for 22 teams, with a centralized governing body, in one city, with adult professional athletes, a players union, no academic obligations, and extensive financial resources. None of those factors apply to college basketball. The planning and organization of such an effort would already need to be well underway, if it was possible.
    Could be. I'm not privy to conversations, at any level, between WCC Universities, staff or coaches.
    If you have information, rather than an opinion, please share that, or let us know that you have information but can't share it.
    Otherwise it is an opinion.
    It's not funny.

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    Dropping mortality and morbidity. I wonder what the numbers would have to be to just begin a schedule.......like normal/without the crowd. Or, like Nebraska released today that if the Big 12 cancels it's season , they're going to play whomever will play them......could we pick and chose the opponenets?.ie have a 20 game season. Interesting thoughts I think. Bubble has been a very safe way for the NBA but I wonder when that sort of thing is abandoned.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by zagfan24 View Post
    Hoops is a winter sport, sure. But creating the type of bubble the OP is talking about took months of planning for 22 teams, with a centralized governing body, in one city, with adult professional athletes, a players union, no academic obligations, and extensive financial resources. None of those factors apply to college basketball. The planning and organization of such an effort would already need to be well underway, if it was possible.
    I actually didn’t outline a bubble like the NBA. I don’t think it would work logistically, except for during the NCAA tournament, which is already bubble-like. I proposed basically just mkre regimented social distancing on campuses with a few tweaks to put athletes in a sort of bubble on campus at each school.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPtheBeasta View Post
    I actually didn’t outline a bubble like the NBA. I don’t think it would work logistically, except for during the NCAA tournament, which is already bubble-like. I proposed basically just mkre regimented social distancing on campuses with a few tweaks to put athletes in a sort of bubble on campus at each school.
    You are right, and that was poorly stated on my part. My apologies. I should have said that creating a bubble like you talked about would take similar amounts of effort, albeit in a different form. Given that you still have to account for meals, travel, medical care.

    FWIW, I really appreciated your post and think that type of thinking could have salvaged some sort of season. I just think it's beyond the NCAA's capabilities. I want a season to happen, though my strong pessimism could easily be mistaken for saying that there shouldn't be a season, which isn't necessarily the case. I think the long term failure of leadership at the highest levels of college sports means there is no framework to work out the sort of solution you proposed, which is potentially possible and certainly reasonable. I also think that Gonzaga is in a uniquely tough spot, given geographical isolation and in a financially different place than many of their conference brethren. To Will's point, this is all just my opinion, absolutely. I sometimes wish I was less of a skeptic by nature...

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    Quote Originally Posted by zagfan24 View Post
    You are right, and that was poorly stated on my part. My apologies. I should have said that creating a bubble like you talked about would take similar amounts of effort, albeit in a different form. Given that you still have to account for meals, travel, medical care.

    FWIW, I really appreciated your post and think that type of thinking could have salvaged some sort of season. I just think it's beyond the NCAA's capabilities. I want a season to happen, though my strong pessimism could easily be mistaken for saying that there shouldn't be a season, which isn't necessarily the case. I think the long term failure of leadership at the highest levels of college sports means there is no framework to work out the sort of solution you proposed, which is potentially possible and certainly reasonable. I also think that Gonzaga is in a uniquely tough spot, given geographical isolation and in a financially different place than many of their conference brethren. To Will's point, this is all just my opinion, absolutely. I sometimes wish I was less of a skeptic by nature...
    It’s all good.

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