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Mike DeWine holds one of the keys to Xavier’s season

Ohio’s governor has to remove at least one obstacle before Xavier can even consider a basketball season

Ohio GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Mike DeWine Attends Election Night In Columbus Photo by Justin Merriman/Getty Images

It seems with each day another blow to the chances of there being a college basketball season lands. This week, the Pac 12 and Big 10 announced that they would not have a football season until the spring. The Big 12 announced that they would go ahead with football and that some stadiums in Texas would have fans. That is possible because Texas governor has been at the forefront of insisting his state get back to normal life as soon as possible, death toll notwithstanding.

In Ohio, things are difference. Mike DeWine acted immediately when the coronavirus hit the shores of the US. Before Xavier was even back from New York, where they definitely didn’t play a game, all sporting events in Ohio were canceled. An entire season of work went by the wayside in the name of maintaining public health. It was painful, but it was likely for the best.

That’s not the situation now. Ohio remains stagnant in phase two of their phased reopening plan, right where they have been for nearly two months. Non-contact sports are back on the table and in action. The high school baseball season was lost, but summer league teams are playing. Golf and tennis are also back playing. Not until phase three will contact sports be allowed to resume games. (They can currently have full contact practices, for whatever sense that makes). That means obvious choices like basketball, soccer, and football, but also, apparently cross country.

It rests on the governor to give the word to go to phase three. Without that, players in contact sports will have to have a test within 72 hours of every sporting event and be able to demonstrate how they’ve maintained their status between games. In a bubble that’s not an issue, on a college campus it’s an impossibility. If Ohio does not advance to phase three, it won’t matter what the Big East decides, the Musketeers won’t be playing.

Unfortunately, Mike DeWine is adrift in a Sargasso Sea of his own indecision. The decisive actions on display in March and into April are increasingly a thing of the past. DeWine was expected to make an announcement on high school sports entering phase three two weeks ago. Instead, he continues to dance around the issue, leaving most athletes in the state in suspended animation. Individual counties are making suggestions or mandate, but they cannot allow their players more leeway than the state allows. Even were Hamilton County to want to do so, they couldn’t put Xavier and the assorted mid-majors, DII, and NAIA schools that play in the city in a place to play.

So that leaves the Musketeers in roughly the same position as the rest of the state. It’s all a waiting game now. The conference is closing things, Ohio isn’t opening them. The signs are not good.