Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Kansas basketball pushes back return date for second time in 3 weeks

Big 12 football still in wait-and-see mode

Kansas head coach Bill Self watches his team play against TCU during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, in Fort Worth, Texas. Kansas won 60-46. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Kansas head coach Bill Self watches his team play against TCU during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, in Fort Worth, Texas. Kansas won 60-46. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)


The Kansas men’s basketball program is pushing its return-to-campus date back for the second time in three weeks in response to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases, KU coach Bill Self told the Journal-World on Wednesday.

The Jayhawks now are aiming to return on Aug. 2, Self said. That date is nearly a full month after the initial return-to-campus date Self and the Jayhawks were hoping for, July 6, and it's roughly two months later than the typical return date, which usually coincides with the start of the first session of summer school in early June.

Seniors Silvio De Sousa and Marcus Garrett have been in Lawrence for a while, but the rest of the players on KU’s 2020-21 roster, including Netherlands native Tristan Enaruna, have been back home with their families, working out on their own with the help of instruction and input from the KU coaching staff and strength coach Ramsey Nijem.

Basketball coaches are allowed to work with players again on a limited basis starting Monday, but Self has said that the reward of having his players back on campus would have to outweigh the risks and that things are not yet at that point.

The basketball program’s delay will have far less impact than those facing the KU football team and athletes from other fall sports programs, but it is yet another sign of how out of sorts the college sports landscape has become.

On the football front, KU is closing in on the end of its 14-day self-quarantine period for all student-athletes and staff following the suspension of voluntary team workouts on July 3.

At that time, KU officials announced that workouts would be shut down for two weeks and that all student-athletes and staff would be retested after that 14-day period to determine whether conditioning activities could resume.

Also, the Big 12 Conference athletic directors and leaders met on Tuesday to further discuss the 2020 college football season, and Commissioner Bob Bowlsby continues to favor a patient approach.

“We’ve been advised to move forward slowly and constantly reevaluate, and that’s what we’ll keep doing until we’ve been told it’s inadvisable,” Bowlsby told the Dallas Morning News.

KU Athletic Director Jeff Long told the Journal-World on Wednesday that the conference ADs have met once or twice per week since the Big 12 basketball tournaments were canceled in mid-March.

“We’ve had more contact as ADs, and with our commissioner, than ever before through this process,” Long said.

Long said the rapid rate at which new information about the pandemic surfaces can create challenges that weren’t always expected when the ADs first started meeting about finding a way to play football and other sports this fall.

“This is such an unusual time,” Long said. “Because, within those meetings, the pendulum is swinging wildly back and forth, from indications that it’s going to be difficult to have a football season on time and then it can swing back with news of different testing that’s coming. ... We’re taking it all in and trying to take the next steps to hopefully playing and competing this fall.”

While KU’s own team physicians and medical professionals with Kansas Team Health have played a role in the meetings and discussions, Long said the Big 12 also has received guidance from physicians and experts at the NCAA level and from outside consultants working directly with the Big 12.

Bowlsby told the Dallas Morning News that developments in the pandemic during the next two to four weeks will play a critical role in determining the future of fall sports in the Big 12.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 already have altered their 2020 football schedules, doing away with nonconference games for the upcoming season. But the Big 12, ACC and SEC remain in a holding pattern and appear to be content to wait it out a little longer.

“We’re going to keep taking steps forward,” Long said. “We’re still very positive about having the season, but we know that with every turn of the corner, every day, every week that goes by, we’ll get more information … We want as much information as we can get to make the best decisions.”


Jeff Coffman 1 year, 2 months ago

With football teams reporting to camp approximately 8-12% of football athletes have tested positive. To date, i have not heard of any athlete having symptoms. By having camps and reporting, there are 12 football athletes that were identified and treated before complications occurred and hopefully with the identification and the quarantine of those 12 individuals, limited to no additional cases were derived from them.

I believe that football and inherently sports in general can drive a real case of how it can be beneficial for players to report, get conditioned, and if they test positive, to get the medical assistance they need.

I've been upfront that I believe that we should proceed with college sports. I believe that there are people that can provide solutions and can make these types of events fun, exciting, healthy, and safe.

Please conferences and administrators continue with the path forward.

Len Shaffer 1 year, 2 months ago

I strongly disagree, Jeff. People keep trying to magically come up with dates when things can get back to "normal." But without any kind of coherent national strategy, it's inevitable that the virus will return with a vengeance.

The whole idea of parameters is ludicrous at this point. When things are shut down, the virus dissipates and people says it's then okay to reopen. But the whole reason that it had dissipated was that things had been shut down, not because it had magically gone away.

In addition, your comment about how athletes haven't been getting sick is missing a major component that so many people seem to disregard: it's not just about them; it's about their family members, friends, etc. If they're a carrier, even if they don't have symptoms, they can infect elderly relatives and that can cause serious problems.

There's simply no way that football can be played without it causing serious repercussions related to the virus.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 2 months ago

You strongly disagree of having players get tested and medical attention for testing positive for COVID-19?

Matt Gauntt 1 year, 2 months ago

There are young men and women that have worked their backsides off most of their lives to get to the point where they can compete in college with a look to maybe becoming a professional athlete. To deny them that chance is beyond appalling. I have a young lady that works for me who was a star basketball player at her college. I asked her if she was an incoming senior if she would want to play. Not even a hesitation - absolutely!! What, are we going to give everyone an extra year of eligibility and then jam up teams with players that didn't graduate AND incoming freshmen? Are you going to increase the number of scholarships (schools have lost money, so that's unlikely)? Are we just going to expect student athletes to give up on their dreams?

The question should not be whether or not to play. The question should be - OK, now that we are DEFINITELY playing, how do we do it as safely as possible.

Bee Bee 1 year, 2 months ago

Amen. The NERVOUS NELLIES can hide in their houses while the rest of us live our lives.

Scott MacWilliams 1 year, 2 months ago

Matt, what is beyond appalling is the fact that the US has become the worst nation in the world in it's pathetic response to the pandemic. The fact is that many peoples dreams are going to be crushed if they haven't been already. Sad but true, end of story. The important thing to keep in mind is that they, as well as their relatives & friends, are alive to figure out a new course, a new role in the world.

Barry Weiss 1 year, 2 months ago

Unfortunately this whole pandemic has become so politicalized that I find it difficult to believe much of what we see in the media. Both sides push their own agenda and there ultimately is some report or study to justify their position that directly contradicts what the other side is claiming. Its a real mess.

William Dostert 1 year, 2 months ago

You all seem to have drank too much kool-aid. Covid 19 is just another flu. If the media spotlighted every flu death each year we would be freaking out about the flu. The sooner everyone gets it the sooner we will be done with this over reaction. Most of the hospitalizations are people who are freaked out by the media blitz

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