Longtime UConn women’s head coach Geno Auriemma knows a thing or two about college basketball. After all, the 66-year-old has won 11 national championships with the Huskies and holds the record for the longest winning streak in NCAA basketball history at 111 games. So when the Hall of Famer speaks, people tend to listen.
With the 2020 college football season in serious trouble after the Big Ten and Pac-12 postponed their respective seasons earlier this week due to COVID-19 concerns, Auriemma feels that the college basketball season is already in trouble as well. And he’s more than likely correct in that assumption.
53 FBS programs have canceled college football, including two Power Five conferences
On August 5, UConn, who just this year moved to independent status after leaving the American Athletic Conference, became the first FBS team to cancel its college football season. In the week since, the dominoes have continued to fall.
On August 8, the entire Mid-American Conference became the first FBS conference to postpone the season. Two days later on August 10, Old Dominion, a member of Conference USA, announced that they were out for the fall. Later that same day, the Mountain West Conference postponed. On August 11, independent UMass became the 27th team to postpone.
After much speculation, the Big Ten became the first Power Five conference to postpone its college football season on Tuesday. Just a short time later, the Pac-12 followed suit, bringing the total number of teams to postpone to 53, just over 40% of the 130 teams currently in the FBS.
Geno Auriemma expects the college basketball season to be delayed
While the other 77 college football teams in the FBS are still planning to have a season, Geno Auriemma doesn’t see it happening and thinks that it’s only a matter of time before the entire sport is shut down. Speaking to ESPN, the nine-time AP Coach of the Year says that the dominoes will continue to fall and that the postponement of college football will also mean a delay for the upcoming college basketball season.
“Patience is everything right now. You can’t really have anything other than patience. I’m trying to be realistic, too. I told our staff this morning, ‘Once the rest of the country cancels football, we’ll know there’s no fall sports at all.’
“So there won’t be any [basketball] games in November. And then we can start thinking about January, maybe, or February. Who knows?”Geno Auriemma on the 2020-2021 college basketball season
Both the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournaments were canceled back in March and things certainly don’t look good for the start of the upcoming season, not with COVID-19 numbers continuing to rise in many parts of the country.
So what about a bubble?
Is an NBA-type bubble an option for college basketball?
Geno Auriemma was asked his thoughts on whether or not the upcoming college basketball season, or at least conference play, could be played in a bubble. The NBA has had great success in Orlando with the bubble experiment, as has the WNBA in Bradenton, but Auriemma really doesn’t see it happening for college basketball.
“Are you going to take the 11 Big East teams and put them in a bubble? Could you do that? That’s a lot of people in the bubble that you don’t realize would have to be in there. Does that make sense: team doctors, trainers, managers … people living in a hotel room for three months.
“Can it be done? Probably. But I don’t see it happening. I’ve actually heard people talking about it, and you could do it financially. But I don’t know that there’s going to be this giant groundswell of, ‘Hey, yeah, let’s do that.’ I don’t see that.”Geno Auriemma on college basketball being played in a bubble
Sure, a bubble for college basketball sounds great in theory but it’s just not realistic, not if these universities really want to send the message that these kids are students first and athletes second. But that’s a conversation for another day.
College football seems to be doomed for the moment and college basketball might be right behind. It’s just the world we live in right now, folks.