The Basketball Tournament (TBT) is changing its format this year because of the COVID-19 threat.
The Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center was supposed to serve as one of eight regional TBT host sites this July and the WVU alumni team, Best Virginia, was slated to be one of the 64 teams in the $2 million winner-take-all, single-elimination event.
Now the TBT is going condense its 2020 tourney, as it will feature 24 teams playing in a single location over a 10-day period.
The teams that will play in the event and the location will be revealed at a later time.
“After reviewing all available science and data, working with experts, and receiving support from our partners, we’ve devised a plan we are confident protects the health and safety of our participants and staff to the greatest extent possible,” said Jon Mugar, TBT founder and CEO.
Though the announcement on which teams will be invited to participate in this year’s TBT won’t take place until June, Best Virginia seems likely to be included. Of the 114 teams that so far have applied for the 2020 TBT, the organization that runs the tournament consistently have touted Best Virginia in its press releases, along with a few others like last year’s champions, Carmen’s Crew, which is an Ohio State alumni squad.
Best Virginia had previously revealed commitments from nine former Mountaineers to participate in this year’s TBT – Nate Adrian, Da’Sean Butler, John Flowers, Jonathan Holton, Kevin Jones, Daxter Miles, Tarik Philip, Juwan Staten and Devin Williams.
This past winter Charleston was announced as one of eight regional host sites, along with Columbus, Jackson (Tenn.), Las Vegas, Wichita, Syracuse, Washington (D.C.) and Winter Haven (Fla.). Dayton was going to host the final eight teams for championship week, Aug. 6-11.
It has not yet been revealed if the single site for the 24-team tourney will be one of those nine locations, or if it will go elsewhere.
🚨Introducing the new TBT 2020🚨
1 Quarantined Location
The most intense week and a half in tournament history‼️ pic.twitter.com/Kdr4gihVWx
— TBT (@thetournament) May 27, 2020
“If there’s anything this virus has taught us is there’s no way to ensure 100 percent probability of anything, but after reviewing TBT’s plan and challenging some of their assumptions, I feel confident in the approach they are taking to minimize risk and their commitment to conducting this event responsibly,” said Dr. Tara Kirk Sell from the Johns Hopkins Bloomsberg School of Public Health
As a result of a collaboration with public health officials, the TBT has formulated a Health & Safety Plan, which is a working plan that will continue to be updated in the weeks leading up to the tournament.
At the core of the plan are five facets that make it unique:
• All participants will be tested for COVID-19 upon arriving at the location. A positive test result will lead to the removal of both the individual and their team from the event
• Teams will be kept separate at all times in quarantine and screened regularly for symptoms of COVID-19
• All participants will be tested again after the quarantine period. A positive result on this second test will lead to the removal of both the individual and their team from the event
• Teams that have tested negative will be cleared to participate in TBT. Once cleared for participation, TBT will continue to screen individuals for symptoms daily
• All players will undergo an exit screening by local health officials
“At the forefront is our single-elimination format, ability to test and quarantine the field and keep teams separate at all times,” said Mugar. “We look forward to hosting an incredible group of teams and crowning a champion this summer.”
Due to its plan to consolidate down to one location, all previous TBT ticket purchases for the nine locations will be refunded in full.