One day after NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt declared that March Madness will happen, in some form, in 2021 despite concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic, a report surfaced that over a dozen college programs could embrace a "bubble" format this holiday season.
Per ESPN's Jeff Borzello, Houston event operator Rhossi Carron sent a proposal to at least 50 college programs for a nonconference schedule that would include 20 teams and would finish over three weeks in December.
Much like how the NHL separated franchises inside hubs located in Toronto and Edmonton, this idea would split the 20 accepted college teams into two groups of 10. Teams would quarantine before students left campuses around Thanksgiving and then quarantine again at the bubble site before they were cleared to practice and play.
Everybody associated with the event, including scouts, would be required to follow quarantine rules and other health and safety guidelines. The bubble would be entirely isolated similar to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex used by the NBA and Major League Soccer for their return-to-play scenarios.
At least two historically Black colleges and universities would be invited to make up for money lost by those institutions during the pandemic.
"Nothing is bulletproof, but based on what medical professionals are telling me, a bubble might be the only way to do it," Carron said while speaking with ESPN. "Our goal is to create a safe, controlled, and competitive environment that places priority on the safety of the student-athlete."
"The goal is to knock out your nonconference schedule between Dec. 1 and Dec. 21 and then go on Christmas break," he added. "Then you come back and start conference play."
Carron hopes similar college basketball bubble sites can be formed around the country for nonconference and conference slates. He also said he may look to create a second 20-team hub of his own if he's successful with his initial plan.