The Basketball Tournament 2020 Announces Format, Safety Plan Amid COVID-19

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2020

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 09:  A basketball hoop and net are shown before a semifinal game of the West Coast Conference basketball tournament between the San Francisco Dons and the Gonzaga Bulldogs at the Orleans Arena on March 9, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Basketball Tournament announced Wednesday it's moving forward with plans for its 2020 event across 10 days starting in July with automatic disqualification for teams with a player who tests positive for COVID-19. 

TBT @thetournament

🚨Introducing the new TBT 2020🚨 24 Teams 10 Days 1 Quarantined Location The most intense week and a half in tournament history‼️ https://t.co/Kdr4gihVWx

Event founder Jonathan Mugar told ESPN's Myron Medcalf they are in the process of finding a location to hold the 24-team, single-elimination tournament amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"We feel we can absolutely put on a fun and safe event," Mugar said.

Here's a look at the safety rules that will be in place once players arrive to the host city:

TBT @thetournament

Our highest priority will always be the health and safety of everyone involved with TBT. Here's how we're approaching this summer. https://t.co/2DrlVPCu3g

Mugar explained the plan calls for fewer than 400 people to hold the entire tournament with under 50 in the arena when games are taking place, per Medcalf.

"The implication is where people are staying, where staff is meeting, where players are practicing and the competition is taking place is all happening in a place we're calling 'inner island,'" Mugar said.

The tournament, which features makeshift non-professional teams from around the world, typically features a $2 million winner-take-all grand prize and is broadcast on ESPN.

It introduced the Elam Ending—an endgame sequence that features a target score rather than a clock—which was utilized by the NBA for its 2020 All-Star Game earlier this year to widespread acclaim.

"The appetite from teams to play in this, we've never seen something like it," Mugar told USA Today's Dan Wolken. "The players will be there, and I'm supremely confident in the format we created from the high-stakes nature, the winner-take-all concept, the Elam Ending, all of that will continue to prop the product up and make it look exactly the way it has been looking."

It has featured as many as 97 teams (2015) and has settled in as a 64-team, single-elimination tournament for three of the past four years. The exception was 72 squads in 2018.

Overseas Elite won four straight championships from 2015 through 2018.

Carmen's Crew ended that run with a triumph over the reigning champions in last year's semifinals before beating the Golden Eagles in the championship game for their first title.

"It was fun to win with the guys, and obviously winning that money helps," Jon Diebler, a former Ohio State standout and member of Carmen's Crew, told Dylan Woods of the event's official website.

This year's plan calls for teams to remain separated until direct head-to-head competition, and players will be asked to leave the quarantined area once eliminated from the bracket.

Bleacher Report's David Gardner interviews athletes and other sports figures for the podcast How to Survive Without Sports.