First, the news:
From Seton Hall: “The Seton Hall men's basketball team has paused all team activities due to positive COVID-19 test results among the program's ‘Tier 1’ personnel, which consists of student-athletes, coaches, staff and managers.”— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) November 12, 2020
Seton Hall joins Marquette among Big East teams that have had a positive test for the coronavirus among Tier 1 personnel. Marquette's was back in October - a lifetime in 2020 terms - but this one will affect Seton Hall in the direct run up to the season's opener.
I love college basketball as much as the next guy, but at some point in time you have to take a realistic look at the risks and rewards in play here. We have very limited data on the long term impact of this disease on a person. We know many college basketball players can be playing through what would be considered a complicating condition in the context of the coronavirus. We know numbers are spiking all over the country - more than 120,000 positive tests were reported today - and that the travel involved in college ball will necessarily increase exposure to the players, managers, and various involved people.
We also know that the NCAA basketball tournament is a huge, irreplaceable line item in the NCAA's annual budget; missing two of them in a row may well cripple the organization.
I used to be a college athlete. For a lot less glory and literally no chance at financial compensation, I played through things that, 15 years later, still affect me. That doesn't make me special; that's a story repeated thousands of times a day in this country. These guys are by nature inclined to believe that it won't happen to them, they can fight it off if it does, and they should be putting it all on the line to compete.
Very rare is the college athlete who will pull the rip cord on a season of his own volition; at some point, we may be confronted with the idea that we should be doing it for them.
For now, Seton Hall is the second team in the conference and third on Xavier's schedule to need a two-week break from basketball activities. Prayers for a speedy and complete recovery for the involved parties. Wear those masks.