The NCAA’s COVID-19 advisory panel is proceeding with caution and pragmatism as it aims to manage its response to the virus in the weeks leading up to its marquee basketball tournaments.
In its statement, the panel said its members “believe that we need to better understand COVID-19 while continuing to work with local, state and federal health authorities such as the CDC,” adding that the “the key is for all stakeholders and athletes to practice risk mitigation at all events.”
At present the panel is not recommending cancellation or public spacing of athletic and related events scheduled to occur in public spaces across the United States.
While the NCAA may not be cancelling any events, the association does appear to be considering all its options. The New York Times reported this weekend that college sports executives have discussed the possibility of reducing the number of venues at which games are played during the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
“We’re playing out every possible scenario, ranging from ‘OK, we’re full-go’ to modified-go to ‘Are we playing a game and we’re certain that everyone in the arena is clean and there won’t be any public?’” Brian Hainline, the NCAA’s chief medical officer, told the Times.
Hainline said it would be “hard to imagine” the tournaments being cancelled and echoed the panel’s uncertainty about how to proceed.
“We’re preparing for a storm, but we don’t know what that storm is going to look like in a week or two weeks or three weeks,” Hainline said.