Skull Session: The NCAA Tournament is in Jeopardy, March Madness Sites Could Change, and Fred Hoiberg Doesn't Have Coronavirus

By Kevin Harrish on March 12, 2020 at 5:40 am
The virus is spreading in today's skull session.

Well. How was everybody's Wednesday?

Yes, the Skull Session is late today. Candidly, it's because yesterday was a wild, wild day of non-stop news to post about on this here website, and I had to do so while feeling quite a bit ill. So I fell asleep.

You might ask if I have the dreaded virus. Probably not, and there's no shot in hell I'd qualify for a test anyway, so we're never going to know for sure. But I certainly hope I don't, because my state's current strategy for dealing with the issue is to ship the sick to a makeshift trailer park in a place called "Hard Labor Creek."

Anyway, we're gonna keep everything extremely brief today because at the rate stuff's been changing, it seems whatever online words I write are gonna be obsolete within hours.

Buckle up!

Song of the Day: "The Sound of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel

Word of the Day: Pervade.

 THE SHOW MUST GO ON? With the NBA halting its entire regular season after a player tested positive for coronavirus, it seems logical that the NCAA Tournament would be next. 

I'm no expert on disease spread, but at one point in my life I was a statistics major (to be clear, I now write about sports online, so you know how well that went) and it seems quite likely to me that someone among the staff or roster 300 or so programs playing this week has at least come in contact with it.

That'll make containing the spread pretty much impossible if the tournament goes on as planned.

“That was alarming at the highest level,” a Power Five head coach told Yahoo Sports on Wednesday night of the NBA news. “Our players are young. We understand that this is most dangerous for a certain group of people. The risk is, is it worth putting your players at risk? Putting the safety of your players and staff at risk?”

What happened in the NBA with Gobert’s diagnosis is the nightmare scenario for the NCAA and every university playing in the tournament. A player gets the virus and potentially exposes his team, the opposition and anyone else they run across in their travels.

“I’m surprised that the NCAA tournament is going to happen with no fans,” a veteran college coach who regularly appears in the NCAA tournament texted Yahoo Sports on Wednesday night. “By not protecting players and coaches, isn’t it a huge liability/lawsuit if a player or coach gets the virus from a game? I know the NCAA wants the check from CBS, but it doesn’t seem fair to players and coaches putting them in harms way.”


As of late Wednesday, no more news was expected to come from the NCAA. Coaches were wondering if their conference tournament games are going to be put on hold. While canceling the NCAA tournament isn’t a guarantee, some type of extended delay or pause appears to be in order.

“That would make more sense to me,” said the Power Five coach of a team headed to the NCAA tournament. “Suspension would make more sense than cancelation. But just because so many people have worked really hard to earn the right. I would think that would make more sense than a total cancelation.”

I woke up yesterday morning thinking there wasn't a chance in hell that the damn NCAA Tournament would be just straight-up canceled, but I'm going to wake up this morning thinking there's no chance in hell that it isn't canceled or at least suspended.

Shit, I blasted the Ivy League for abruptly canceling its tournament in yesterday's Skull Session. 24 hours later, I'll be amazed if any more basketball will be played today or in the foreseeable future. Life comes at you fast.

 SMALLER GYMS. If the NCAA Tournament is played as scheduled, it ain't going to be in front of fans, which means there's absolutely no reason to do the dance in the same stadium that hosted the damn Super Bowl.

Honestly, I have no idea why we'd even keep the same travel schedule. If there are now fans, why does it even matter? Can't we just pick a spot and run it AAU style? Let's knock out the entire tournament in a week.

 HOIBERG NOT CORONA POSITIVE. Fred Hoiberg gave everyone a bit of a scare yesterday when he abruptly left the sideline after being visually sick, but it turns out he doesn't have the flu, just the common cold.

I cannot fathom thinking it was a good idea to keep coaching a basketball tournament game (which you're frankly going to lose handily because two of your players were on the football team a week ago) while showing any symptoms at all. But at least all is well.

 IT GOT OUR SPORTS. Everything changed in a hurry yesterday to the point where it was hard to even keep up.

By the end of the day, spectators were banned across the state of Ohio, the NCAA Tournament announced it would be played without fans, the Big Ten Tournament followed suit after announcing the opposite just hours before, Ohio State essentially postponed in-person recruiting efforts and the spring game was canceled.

As it all happened, this Tweet from my good pal Ben hit home.

I can't recall anything like this ever happening in my life. I don't really give a shit whether the moves are overreactions or not (though I'm sure you'll all inform me of the correct answer in the comments anyway), but when you just take a step back and look at everything that's happening, it's nothing short of nuts.

Within about 12 hours yesterday, life drastically changed to the point that sports might just be canceled for a while. And up till now, that's shit I've only ever seen in movies.

 NOT STICKING TO SPORTS. An American in Italy, where 60 million are trapped by the coronavirus... Teen bootleggers are making dangerous booze on TikTok... The feds arrest over 600 cartel members... A mom left three boys fighting for their lives after they took the ‘cannibal zombie’ drug Flakka... What will you do if you start coughing?... Canada's mysterious lake monster.

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