Ivy League opts out, but college basketball still on elsewhere

  • Kentucky's Maci Morris (4) guards Princeton's Gabrielle Rush during the second half of an NCAA women's tournament game in 2019. The Ivy League became the first Division I conference this year to cancel all winter sports, including men's and women's basketball. The decision Thursday, came 13 days before the scheduled start of the college basketball season.

    Kentucky's Maci Morris (4) guards Princeton's Gabrielle Rush during the second half of an NCAA women's tournament game in 2019. The Ivy League became the first Division I conference this year to cancel all winter sports, including men's and women's basketball. The decision Thursday, came 13 days before the scheduled start of the college basketball season. AP File Photo

 
 
Updated 11/13/2020 6:42 PM

The Ivy League was the first domino to fall in March.

Let's hope it isn't the first one now.

 

The Ivy League announced on Thursday that due to increasing numbers of cases of COVID-19 across the country, it was canceling its winter sports seasons, including men's and women's basketball.

Back in March, the Ivy League was the first Division I conference to cancel its men's and women's basketball tournaments, and within days, the entire NCAA men's and women's basketball season was shut down. For good.

"This is definitely not a decision we want to make, but I know it's the right decision for the Ivy League," said Robin Harris, the executive director of the Ivy League. "We are heartbroken to be here again."

At Cal State Northridge, it's a safe bet no one ever thought they'd be in the place they are now.

The women's basketball team at the school won't be playing this season even though the Big West is starting nonconference games on Nov. 25.

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The Matadors have had six players opt out of the season due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. And an international player had trouble entering the country due to travel restrictions.

That leaves only six active players on the Cal State Northridge roster.

Meanwhile, elsewhere, the rules and landscape are vastly different, which has been a theme with the COVID-19 pandemic throughout all facets of life, from in-person dining to in-person learning at schools. Different strokes for different states and regions. The same seems to be happening with college basketball.

Conferences such as the MAC, which includes NIU, are still a go, as of now. The MAC has basketball games scheduled in November. And the Big East, which includes DePaul, just released a portion of its basketball schedule with conference games beginning in December.

The Big Ten is intending to play but still hasn't released its schedule.

"It's been crazy but we're like everybody else, just trying to stay healthy and stay safe and figure this out," Northwestern coach Joe McKeown said. "I'm hoping we can have the schedule out within the next few days, but you've seen what we did with football. The Big Ten always keeps everyone on their toes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It's been a challenge to try to put together a schedule around the holidays and tournaments and bye weeks and whether we're going to have a nonconference season. There's still so much up in the air, but when they put something out, we'll deal with it. I really think we're going to play."

Gamecocks No. 1: It seems only fitting that South Carolina sits atop the preseason Top 25 Associated Press women's basketball poll.

The Gamecocks were No. 1 in the country when last season abruptly ended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic just before the start of the NCAA Tournament.

It's the first time South Carolina has been ranked No. 1 in a national preseason poll. The Gamecocks have been second twice, in 2014 and 2015.

"It's pretty cool to be the first to do things at a place where you can feel the love for our team in this town," South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. "They've been along this journey with us and allowed us to do things like this."

Northwestern is ranked No. 17 in the preseason poll while DePaul is No. 19 and Notre Dame is No. 22.

Staying in it: It didn't take Muffet McGraw long to move on to her next gig.

No, the former Notre Dame women's coach, who retired last spring after 33 years in South Bend, isn't coaching basketball again. She will be talking basketball instead.

McGraw has agreed to be a studio analyst this season for the ACC Network.

"It's a new challenge I'm looking forward to," McGraw said. "I thought it was a way to stay connected with something I spent my entire life doing. Women's basketball has been a passion of mine."

Twitter: @babcockmcgraw

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