With Kansas Athletics not permitting fans to attend any sporting events for the rest of November, there is still uncertainty regarding the 2020-21 men’s basketball season.
As of Nov. 23, Kansas Athletics still plans to allow 1,500 fans for home men's basketball games at Allen Fieldhouse.
The November ruling already is affecting women’s basketball, with no fans being allowed at its upcoming home games against Northern Colorado (Nov. 25) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Nov. 29).
University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod said he and his COVID-19 advisory team will provide updates when they're available regarding sporting events in December. However, positive COVID-19 cases in Douglas County continue to rise.
To help combat this, all Kansas men’s basketball coaches, players and staff are planning on taking three COVID-19 tests each week, per NCAA guidelines. Some of those guidelines include social distancing procedures, mask/face coverings mandates, and properly cleaning facilities before and after use.
The NCAA — after granting an extra year of eligibility to all winter sport athletes — has also taken measures to ensure safe play this season. Game locations have been moved ahead of the upcoming season, including eight multiple-team events originally scheduled to be played in Orlando. This particularly affected Kansas, with the Champions Classic moved to Indianapolis on Dec. 1, and the Jayhawks joining the Fort Myers Tip-Off on Thanksgiving Day.
The NCAA is also looking to host the entirety of the 2021 NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament in Indianapolis due to COVID-19 concerns, according to a release last week.
Even with these various protocols in place, there’s still room for error. Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self said a possible 14-day shutdown in the middle of the season due to COVID-19 would be a significant blow for any team.
Granted, Self said his team is in safe hands at McCarthy Hall, and that the team created a bubble-like atmosphere. But Self added that the Jayhawks are increasingly mindful of strict protocols, knowing a shutdown could upend a season quickly.
“The thing that is so nerve-wracking for a coach and for his team is if a team gets shut down, you miss out on those four games or you may play those four games without your full roster,” Self said during a media availability on Nov. 12. “Then, when you come back you won’t be worth a flip because you haven’t practiced for two weeks.”
Kansas will open the season against No. 1 Gonzaga in the Fort Myers Tip-Off on Thanksgiving Day. Tipoff is set for 12:30 p.m.