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It’s going to get worse before it gets better

None of the news is good news in college basketball today.

NCAA Basketball: Incarnate Word at Purdue
We are, rapidly, heading back here
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Today the Missouri Valley Conference announced that teams that missed games for Covid would no longer be forced to forfeit them. This is notable because it means most of NCAA basketball is now aligned and because just a week ago the MVC had voted to go on with the forfeits. Things are changing rapidly, and not for the better.

Xavier is currently staring down the barrel of a 17 day layoff. As of this point there are no plans and nothing in the works to change that. There is a very high probability that the Musketeers do not play again until a game on the 7th of January against Butler. That is assuming that neither program comes down with some Covid problems of their own and that the Big East doesn’t just suspend play and bubble teams for a sort of circuit breaker.

Some places are already enforcing mask mandates again. The efficacy of vaccines against Omicron has been a matter of some debate, but in some states proof of vaccination has been bandied about as a requirement to get into games. Cases of Covid are on the rise nationwide. In Cincinnati the fire department has been forced to declare a state of emergency due to staffing levels being brought low by the latest variant.*

There are tweets from the last 24 hours scattered throughout this article. They demonstrate the stark reality of the problem. On Monday, usually a crowded day on the slate, there was exactly one game in which DI teams faced off. In the only other game involving a DI team, Texas A&M played Dallas Christian. As of the time this article is posted, 93 teams have been impacted by Covid. Over 100 games have been postponed with a good amount of those being canceled outright.

What all of this means is that things are not going to get better any time soon. Schools are going to keep testing. Players are going to keep testing positive. Games are going to keep getting pushed back. The idea that every Big East team plays 20 conference games now seems fanciful. The idea that fans will be back at the Big East Tournament no longer seems as nailed on as it did three months ago. Hold your breath, a long, dark January and February await.

*Mention your political viewpoint on any of this here and your comment is getting deleted. Save that for social media.