BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - With COVID-19 cases on the rise, some well-known college basketball coaches are questioning if they should continue to play college basketball right now.
With a handful of games into the season, Alabama, UAB, and Samford all agree on one thing.
“We should be playing right now, we should 100% be playing right now,” said Alabama men’s basketball coach Nate Oats.
Oats’ response comes after Coach K, Rick Petino, and Dick Vitale made comments urging the NCAA to pause the season until after the New Year, but other teams like Alabama, UAB, and Samford disagree.
“Do you think if Coach K hadn’t lost the two non-conference games that he would still be saying that,” Oats added.
“I’ve always been on the thought that every institution should be in the position to make decisions based on their own personal set of circumstances. What’s happening in Birmingham, Alabama, may not be the same thing that’s happening in New York or California, or Montana,” said UAB men’s basketball coach Andy Kennedy.
“Hey, if a school wants to opt out, if Duke doesn’t want to play, then don’t play. Like if Coach K doesn’t want to play, then that’s up to them. No one is going to hold it against a group if they don’t want to play, but you know I think if the teams that want to play, if only three teams want to play, hopefully we can keep going and we’ll be one of the three teams competing for a national championship,” said Samford men’s hoops coach Bucky McMillan.
As for the players, they’ve made it clear that they want to play.
“I’ve been sitting for six months so I’m just trying to get back to my normal schedule. Of course I want everyone to be safe, but then again I want to get better and have this opportunity,” said UAB guard Tavin Lovan.
According to the NCAA, teams are allowed to play 27 games this season and are planning to hold March Madness in one location to limit the spread of the coronavirus.