The Basketball Tournament Will Take Place This Summer With Added Precautions

The Basketball Tournament is moving forward with a plan to play in July that will hinge on players successfully avoiding becoming infected with the coronavirus. While they don’t have the resources of the NBA to created a complete quarantine bubble, the league is making plans to keep everyone safe and, they hope, to keep them all within what they are calling the “inner island” of a quarantined campus.

Players will be tested prior to traveling to a still-undecided location, then again upon arrival. Should any member of a tournament team become infected, that team will be disqualified and sent home. Still, the event is expected to take place with 24 teams and under 400 total people in that inner island.

“The implication is where people are staying, where staff is meeting, where players are practicing and the competition is taking place is all happening in a place we’re calling ‘inner island,'” TBT founder Jonathan Mugar said, per ESPN.

It is unclear how the single-elimination bracket would change if a team was disqualified, especially as the event goes on. Organizers are not mandating that players stay within their “campus,” but will be monitoring social media and are hoping for voluntary use of contact tracing apps during the run of the tournament.

The Basketball Tournament will likely enter a crowded sports landscape when it comes online in late July, as the NHL, NBA and WNBA are targeting a similar start date, and the PGA Tour and MLB seasons could be in full swing by that point as well, with the NFL potentially not far behind. Still, The Basketball Tournament has had success in the past airing games during the day, and its unique format with the Elam Ending and nostalgic favorites on the court will still be a draw. The question for small leagues like this tournament is how much extra attention there will be during a late summer period that could realistically see all four major sports going on at once in the United States.