With the college football season in a state of chaos, and the start date for college basketball, let alone the fate of the entire season, all but uncertain, a Stadium poll of 258 Division I athletic directors seems to be a timely endeavor. The poll asked the ADs five questions and let them respond anonymously, though it does note the results in two categories: all DI results and those specifically of the power six ADs.
The questions posed are:
- What’s your level of confidence that we have any kind of college basketball regular season?
- What’s your level of confidence that we have an NCAA Tournament?
- Do you favor a “bubble” for games?
- What’s the biggest obstacle to having a college basketball season?
- Which scheduling format do you prefer for the season?
Right off the bat the answers are concerning for college hoops fans. While the vast majority at both DI overall, and P6 programs are either “very confident” or “somewhat confident” that some form of a hoops season will occur, the P6 level is only 39.1-percent for “very confident.”
Again, the results are a little concerning for the next question of confidence in an NCAA tournament, though not nearly as much. The P6 answer is again only 39.1-percent “very confident,” but the big difference here is 50.8-percent of those polled overall are “very confident.” All athletic directors polled total 97.3-percent “very” or “somewhat” confident. So one can draw the conclusion that it is unlikely even an aborted or abbreviated season does not attempt to have a March Madness, even if it ends up in another month.
Just over 75-percent of P6 athletic directors do not favor a “bubble” for games. That goes down to 63.2-percent when you include all other athletic directors. While the NBA bubble system has proven a huge success, it comes with incredibly stringent, and arguably unrealistic for student-athletes, demands of those involved to pull off. It also comes with a price tag of over $150 million, cash struggling college athletic departments would be hard pressed to come up with.
The break down between athletic directors on what the biggest obstacle to a season was is interesting. No P6 athletic directors believe financial cost is the biggest obstacle, but 7.3-percent of all DI directors do. And 60-percent of P6 believe testing is the biggest detriment, while that goes down to 48.1-percent among all polled. Liability is the biggest concern of 17.4-percent of all those polled, but only 2.2-percent at the P6 level.
Finally, the scheduling format is also a stark contract between all athletic directors and those of just P6 programs. The largest choice for P6 athletic directors by far was a January start date for the season with limited non-conference games. That was also the largest percentage choice across all DI athletic directors, but by just a 1.2-percent margin compared to the next highest choice of a normal season start time and schedule.
Whatever the decision ends up being, we should have a better indication soon as it is just two and a half weeks out from when the NCAA said they will have a decision by.