Ready For Tip-Off

    • The NCAA distributed $375 million less to its Division I programs than it planned without 2020 March Madness.
    • This article was first published in the FOS Daily Newsletter. Subscribe here.

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College basketball tips off today, but the season is already showing signs of trouble. 

The NCAA is restarting the sport amid the country’s most severe COVID-19 outbreak — and already, positive tests among teams nationwide have caused the hastily thrown together schedule to begin to crumble.

“We’re kind of playing into the teeth of this virus,” Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey recently told reporters.

Season plans are already being disrupted:

  • Traveling to, or preparing for, bubbles has proven difficult. Multiple teams have pulled out of non-conference events before even arriving inside bubbles.
  • Local guidelines that vary across regions pose particular challenges for certain teams, Pac-12 Senior Associate Commissioner Teresa Gould told FOS. 
  • There’s a disparity in the financial resources teams can spend on safety measures, further complicating many schools’ seasons, Gould added.

So why push ahead? “We all know that the NCAA needs to [have a tournament] for the money,” Clemson men’s basketball coach Brad Brownell said. 

Without 2020 men’s March Madness, the governing body distributed $375 million less to its Division I programs than it planned — and that’s money that non-Power 5 programs rely on. Unforeseen health expenses for safety precautions like bubbles have also ballooned, creating further concerns for the season’s viability.