March Madness may be several months away, but NCAA vice president of men's basketball Dan Gavitt says alternative plans are already being made to ensure the annual tournament is held one way or another next year.
"Our planning is for a traditional format of the tournament, with the dates and sites as normal," Gavitt told The Athletic's Dana O'Neil. "We are going to have a Plan B, C, and D, and we are far along in developing all of them. We are hopeful we're not going to get there, but we are prepared."
Gavitt expressed confidence in July that March Madness would return next year. He says his optimism has grown due to the NBA's and WNBA's successful campus environments in Florida.
"What gives me the greatest confidence about the tournament is we are seeing basketball being played safely in Orlando and Bradenton right now," Gavitt said. "Now, while we may not be able to replicate what the NBA and WNBA are doing exactly, we can take and learn from that experience and, if necessary, implement that in a tournament setting. That's what gives me confidence for March Madness."
No players have tested positive for COVID-19 through four weeks of testing within the NBA's bubble in Orlando. The WNBA has also had zero positive tests since its initial four-day quarantine period ended July 10.
NCAA president Mark Emmert expressed optimism in being able to replicate a bubble setup for championships.
"Starting with 64 teams is tough. Thirty-two, OK, maybe that's a manageable number. Sixteen, certainly manageable. But you've got to figure out those logistics. There's doubtlessly ways to make that work," Emmert said, according to ESPN's Jeff Borzello.
"It's obviously expensive to do that. But we're not going to hold a championship in a way that puts student-athletes at risk," he added. "If we need to do a bubble model and that's the only way we can do it, then we'll figure that out."