ESPN is canceling plans to host eight of its men’s college basketball events in a singular locale in Orlando.
ESPN had planned to move eight of its 10 nonconference events to the ESPN Wide World of Sports property at Walt Disney World in Orlando, including the Champions Classic, Charleston Classic, Myrtle Beach Invitational, NIT Season Tip-Off, Wooden Legacy, Orlando Invitational, Jimmy V Classic and Diamond Head Classic.
The ESPN Wide World of Sports was the site for the NBA’s bubble.
“ESPN Events set out to create a protected environment for teams to participate in early-season events in Orlando,” an official statement from ESPN said. “Based on certain challenges surrounding testing protocols, we opted to resume these tournaments during the 2021-22 season.”
The challenges around testing protocols refers primarily to re-testing players who had already previously tested positive for coronavirus and been cleared. The protocols for a player testing positive while in the Orlando bubble were another key discussion point.
The bubble was expected to run from Nov. 25 until early December, highlighted by the Champions Classic and the Jimmy V Classic. While the other six events are likely to simply resume in 2021, there is hope for the Champions Classic and Jimmy V Classic to move to a different location for this season, sources told ESPN. The Champions Classic features Michigan State vs. Duke and Kansas vs. Kentucky, while Jimmy V was expected to feature Baylor vs. Illinois and Gonzaga vs. Tennessee.