Coach K: College Basketball Will Follow NBA's Lead in Return from COVID-19

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 8, 2020

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JANUARY 04: Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils reacts against the Miami Hurricanes during the second half at the Watsco Center on January 04, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Duke head men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski said Thursday the NCAA will likely follow the NBA's lead when it comes to returning from the coronavirus pandemic.

During an appearance on 94WIP, Coach K discussed how the NBA will influence the steps that college basketball takes in the coming months: "I think college will try to learn from what the professional sports do. You gotta just be really careful, but again you have to bring things back too. We're gonna watch what the NBA does especially, and I'm sure college football is going to watch what the NFL does."

As a result of COVID-19, the NCAA canceled both the 2020 men's and women's basketball tournaments, and no national champion was crowned in either sport. The NCAA also canceled all spring sports seasons.

Krzyzewski noted that the NCAA may have a more difficult logistical job than the NBA since there are over 300 Division I college basketball programs compared to 30 NBA teams.

Since some areas of the country have been hit harder than others by the coronavirus, Coach K divulged that the possibility of having a 2020-21 college basketball season with only a portion of the programs participating has been discussed:

"We could have, in our country, a disjointed way of doing things in that certain regions may be playing where other regions aren't. Or conferences have to make decisions as to whether or not everyone in the conference plays. In other words, in our conference we have 15 schools from 10 different states. What if, five states you allow things that in the other states you don't. Do those schools have an abbreviated schedule or a schedule without the others? There's a lot of talk about that, very complex."

The NBA suspended the 2019-20 regular season March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. There is still no concrete plan for when or if the season will resume, but the league did take the first of many steps Friday by reopening some practice facilities under strict social distancing guidelines.

How the NBA handles the remainder of this season and the start of the 2020-21 season could provide the NCAA with a blueprint of sorts for how it can move forward.

One thing college basketball does have is the benefit of time since the 2020-21 season isn't slated to begin until October.