CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Big South Conference was suppose to tip at Bojangles’ Coliseum in March of 2021, but that has been pushed back a year due to financial worries due to this pandemic.
“We were very excited in 2021 to come to Charlotte and have a neutral site championship,” said Big South commissioner Kyle Kallander. “To be responsible for this year, we need to go back on campus.”
"Every institution in the Big South would be required to buy "X" amount of tickets," said Gardner-Webb Vice President of Athletics Chuck Burch. “If you did the math, put that figure anywhere from 15 to 25 thousand dollars per institution so you see a pretty significant savings if you stay on campus.”
But it goes deeper than just the basketball tournament as every sport in the conference will be effected due to this pandemic.
“Without being exactly right, we’re probably looking at taking a hit where we would ordinarily get over 800 thousand dollars from different supplemental revenue from the NCAA,” said Burch. “This year, we are projecting that number to be probably below 400 thousand dollars.”
That is a substantial hit and because of that, the conference is instituting some new efficiencies for the 2020-21 season.
Not only will the basketball championships be held on campuses this season but so will the soccer, volleyball, and lacrosse championships.
Seven sports championships will limit their field to the top 4 at the end of their regular season. Those sports include men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis, volleyball, softball, and baseball.
The men’s and women’s golf tournaments will be shortened by a day.
The outdoor track & field championships will remain a three-day event, but will be moved up to mid-April.
The cross country championships will be moved to a central location and will be on a Friday afternoon.
Aggressive minimal standards in basketball have been relaxed as well for a year.
Also, the football and basketball media days will now be done virtually this upcoming athletic season.
So as you can see, this is about more than just basketball as just about every sport in the conference portfolio will be touched. Even with a well thought out plan, the uncertainty still remains.
“It’s difficult not being able to tell your coaches and your student-athletes here’s what the game plan is,” said Burch. “Right now, the game plan is ever evolving. It’s like everyday something comes up that you weren’t really prepared for so those are the types of things that keep you up.”
The grand hope is things will get back to a point where the basketball tournament can finally come to Charlotte and the Bojangles’ Coliseum in 2022.
“We are very grateful to our partners in Charlotte for their understanding and support of this,” said Kallander. “They’ve been great to work with and we look forward to 2022.”