SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Summit League has tipped off the conference portion of the men’s and women’s basketball season.
The Summit League is playing men’s and women’s basketball doubleheaders consisting of back-to-back games against one opponent at the same location.
“The concept of playing two games at one site was unusual, but I believe it worked out well,” Summit League Commissioner Tom Douple said.
Week one was largely successful, despite the Omaha and Oral Roberts women not playing due to COVID-19.
“You know, our number one goal when we started all this was just to get the games in and continue to try and help mitigate any risk for our student-athletes,” Douple said.
Douple says the Summit will always err on the side of caution, and calls COVID testing one of the league’s biggest challenges.
“You know, the testing protocols that we have put in place are very stringent. It’s three times a week testing for all tier one members, and we consider tier one being the coaches staff and our student-athletes and managers and trainers,” Douple said.
Attendance restrictions are in place throughout the league, but the numbers aren’t set in stone.
“We’re waiting to see what happens here after the holidays, whether or not we’ll have a spike in COVID virus in our communities, which would obviously then reduce some of the attendance, so it’s a very fluid situation for sure,” Douple said.
The Summit League Championships are less than two months away. Douple says bringing 16 teams to the PREMIER Center will be challenging.
“There’s going to be different protocols that we have to put in place, obviously our testing during the tournament. If you have one positive test, and with contact tracing, that can knock out a team,” Douple said.
The league hopes to prevent that outcome by consulting with everyone from athletic directors to medical experts.
“We’ve discussed all alternatives and I think we’re going to have to make some decisions here within the next week or so,” Douple said.
A majority of teams across the Summit League have limited seating for home games, but Denver, Kansas City, and Western Illinois are currently not allowing fans.