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The NCAA is optimistic college basketball will start on time

Sometime in September, decisions will have to be made for real on this.

NCAA Basketball: Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament
Cancellations abounded in March, but sure, flu season will be fine.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

NCAA senior VP Dan Gavitt had a chat with Andy Katz the other day regarding the schedule for college basketball this year. You can watch it here if you'd like; just skip the first five minutes or so, as they're more about the NBA draft.

The big takeaway is the the plan is currently to continue as scheduled with everything regarding the basketball season. Gavitt said that, "as long as basketball is being played safely anywhere in the world," he believes the NCAA can play it safely this season.

I have some misgivings about that, most notably informed by the cluster that has been the start of this season for the MLB. After delaying opening day by nearly four months, they started with a truncated schedule. There were immediately problems, most notably with multiple clubs having players test positive for the coronavirus, causing their teams to have to shut it down temporarily.

These exposures don't appear to have come primarily from actually playing, which isn't good news at all. Instead, they came from players breaking whatever rules were in place to keep them from getting exposed between games, largely by doing things like dining out and hitting the clubs.

Now take into consideration that there are 30 MLB teams and 353 D1 basketball teams. If you can't keep a lid on 750 paid professionals for a couple of weeks, I'm not sure it's reasonable to hope 4,000+ college kids can go five months without swiping whichever way makes you break social distancing on Tinder or sneaking out on a road trip to snag some Waffle House or whatever. Then instead of enjoying the fairly leisurely and distance-friendly sport of baseball, they'll be sweating and running into each other while breathing through their mouths for 40 minutes.

There are also D2 and D3 teams to consider, plus the women's teams of each school. That's a lot of student athletes and a lot of opportunities for something to go wrong.

The NCAA has its work cut out for it here. Gavitt did say that go/no-go calls don't really have to be made until September, meaning there is still time for more information to come in.

I'm hopeful that we get a normal college basketball season this year. As a Cleveland sports fan since my youth, though, I know false hope when I feel it.