Louisville women's basketball coach Jeff Walz knows it's likely games will be scrapped at the last minute this season because of the coronavirus.
So he set up a group text with fellow coaches at about a dozen schools within driving distance. The idea is, if a game gets canceled late, they have a quick way to find out if someone else can play instead.
If that seems chaotic and haphazard, welcome to the 2020-21 college basketball season. With a week until tipoff, some teams have no more than a handful of games scheduled and others are lining up bus rides and home-and-home series like they’re in baseball’s minor leagues.
“As soon as you found out that a game is canceled, you ask: Does anyone need a game?” he said. “We kind of all talked and except for a few teams within the same league — Ohio State, Indiana and Purdue — we’ve all agreed that if we have an opening we’ll play. We’ll figure it out if it’s home or away, things like that.”
Walz said he got the idea from a friend of his, Scott Davenport, who is the men's basketball coach at Bellarmine.
“My thought was that we have to do everything we can as coaches to provide as many safe opportunities to play as we can,” Walz said. “It’s been one hell of a 2020. I don’t see it getting any better at the start of 2021. The responsible thing to do is to try and exhaust all resources we might have to give these student-athletes a chance to play.”
Nearly two dozen schools have posted over the last week looking for games on a scheduling board on Basketball Travelers' website.
Arizona coach Adia Barnes took it a step further, reaching out on Twitter to try and find games.