The Mohegan Sun Arena may continue to hold non-conference sports events after serving as a bubble for boxing and mixed martial arts back in July and August.
This time, the anticipation is directed toward college basketball games, which should be held in November/December 2020. Up to 20 teams are expected to compete in these events.
Even though not every arena is suitable for the role of a bubble, Mohegan Sun Arena clearly fits the requirements.
According to Greg Procino, the Vice President of basketball operations at the Naismith Hall of Fame, the arena serves as a “single-site venue for hotel, food and beverage […] with no reason to leave [the] property” and contains “protected hotel floors for teams, officials and staff to safely bubble our group.”
“We are working with Gazelle Group [which runs several events] on collaboration in this unique time. But, this is very much a concept and work in progress. The scheduling and medical requirements will not be easy. This week, there was a lot of curiosity about this from schools but also hesitancy about seriously talking about adjustments or additions until [things] becomes more clear.”
“We need to be respectful of the NCAA and conference timeline. This could work for multiple days of games with multiple teams. We could likely accommodate 16 to 20 teams at one time.”
Jon Rothstein, the host of College Hoops Today with Jon Rothstein, stated in his Tweet that Mohegan Sun Arena might hold even more non-conference events in the future:
“Mohegan Sun has emerged as a bubble location to host teams in December that were scheduled for the following early season events: Empire Classic, Gotham Classic, Legends Classic, Hall-of-Fame Tip-Off, Hall-of-Fame Invitational”.
September 16 is the date when the NCAA will possibly announce the official start of the college basketball season. November 25 and December 4 are two possible dates for the start of the season, which would offer a soft bubble for players, as the majority of the students won’t be present on campus at that time.
“You’re not going to put them in a bubble for a month or two months, that’s not going to happen,” said Jim Boeheim, the coach of Syracuse. “What you could do is [at] Thanksgiving break, every campus is a bubble. The students are gone. So in 6-8 weeks in December and part of January, you could play a lot of games in eight weeks. That’s why I think it’s crucial for basketball to start right at Thanksgiving break and play those 6-8 weeks.”
He also noted that there are very little positive cases of COVID-19 among players, thus continuing to train and play in a bubble is the safest possible way at the moment.
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