ESPN had announced prior plans to host 10 holiday tournaments from around the map in Orlando following the success of the NBA bubble. However, Seth Davis of The Atlantic is reporting that ESPN will be announcing by close of business today they are cancelling those plans.
The issue seems to stem from issues revolving around both testing and protocols for players who test positive during the event. While ESPN had not finalized actually moving all tournaments to Orlando as the centralized location, it had been working with all programs involved to move forward with the plan.
However, the network was aiming to follow more stringent protocols under the Center for Disease Control and NCAA guidelines. Not all schools and their conferences are following that stringent of testing and quarantine/return to play protocols. As a result, it seems that talks broke down and ESPN decided to cancel all tournaments in Orlando so teams have time to salvage their schedule just inside of one month out from the season’s start date.
Overby said the network hopes to salvage two doubleheaders, the Champions Classic and the Jimmy V Classic, at other locations. Michigan State, Kansas and Gonzaga were scheduled to play in one of the two remaining events as well as a multi-team event in Orlando. Virginia, Florida State and Texas Tech are among the dozens of teams that will be affected by the cancellation of the Preseason NIT, Orlando Invitational, Diamond Head Classic, Wooden Legacy, Charleston Classic and Myrtle Beach Invitational. If the Champions and Jimmy V do not happen, that would affect Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Baylor, Illinois and Tennessee.
Hopefully the Champions Classic will still occur. Perhaps ESPN might consider the original location of Indianapolis, or use participating schools and play as a double-header on campuses. As more news becomes available on alternative plans we will be sure to keep you updated.