- "We are going to have a tournament," Gavitt said. "It’s going to be special. We have our preferences about how we’d like to have it be, but if we have to adjust to the virus, which we don’t control, we will adjust accordingly. The health and safety of the players and the coaches and all the people around the games — the referees and fans — will be primary. But ultimately it will also include determining a national champion in the fairest and most equitable way that we can under these unusual circumstances. I think it’s important to note: We’re gonna have all sorts of contingencies and plans if it’s necessitated. We’re just not in the position to be able to talk about those in the middle of August, because that’s not what our primary goal is.”
"It’s a cultural piece," Barnhart said. "Something that’s so important to the fabric of spring. I’m not willing to give that up in any way, shape or form. We want to plow ahead. We’re gonna do everything we can resource-wise, facility-wise, and I can tell you from the committee’s perspective we’re fully committed to try and find a way to whatever end to make sure that this tournament gives us a chance to play college basketball on the highest stage.”
That's a contract! That's a verbal contract! I may not have gone to 'law school' but I know a verbal contract when I see or hear it. This is it. This means there can't be any take backs. The 2021 NCAA Tournament now HAS to happen. It's a law! It's a rule! You can't just go cancelling the NCAA Tournament two years in a row. You just can't. That's the only way to put it. It's not allowed. We have plenty of time to figure out how to make this work - I have some solutions, call me Dan Gavitt.
First, we could make the NCAA Tournament a true bubble. I talked about the difficulty of doing this for the full season due to the stupid ass amateurism rules and still trying to pretend like college sports aren't to make a profit, but that's been beaten to death at this point. That said, you can get away with just making the NCAA Tournament a bubble. Conference only regular season, everyone goes round robin style for a true regular season champ. Let the conference decide if they want to send the regular season champ or a conference tournament champ for the automatic bid. Regular 68-team NCAA Tournament is played. Boom, there's one.
I still think Kevin Willard is on the right path with playing games starting over Thanksgiving break. The majority of colleges across the country are sending kids home from Thanksgiving until the start of the second semester. That right there gives you an extra 6ish weeks on campus without other students. You can create a de facto bubble - which we have seen work over the summer - with athletes. You don't have to worry about fans in the stands since we're not playing in front of people. Play as many games as possible during that stretch and build in time later. You're testing these players so traveling together isn't the end of the world. It's very possible.
Either way, this is a contract. We need the NCAA Tournament. We need those 3 weeks more than anything. It's an American holiday - at least it should be. I can't survive without college hoops in March - or any point in the year. I just can't. It's my favorite thing in the world. People love people and things. I love college basketball. Always have, always will. It's always been there for me until March 12, 2020. But it WILL be there for me in 2021.
Oh and don't think I don't realize this is Kentucky's AD helping promise a Tournament happens. That's just what we do in Kentucky. We fix basketball for everyone. Just another great day to be a Wildcat.