Sports

MVC Basketball Switches Schedule to Increase Safety of Teams

Zack Miller | The PhoenixMembers of the Loyola men's basketball team sit on the bench during Arch Madness.

The Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Presidents Council met Nov. 20 and made the decision to adjust the men’s and women’s basketball schedules in order to prioritize the health and safety of all teams as COVID-19 cases surge across the United States. 

Conference play will still feature an 18-game format, according to the press release from the MVC. Most teams will face one another in a two-game series on back-to-back days at the same site. Each institution will play four road series and four home series. The switch also features designated travel partners that the teams will play in a single-game, home-and-home series. 

This is almost the exact same structure as the women’s volleyball schedule announced earlier in the year. 

The press release didn’t state what the designated travel partners would be. 

The new scheduling format for men’s and women’s conference games significantly reduces travel and places an emphasis on the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and staff, according to the press release. 

Results of conference play will determine seeding for the respective conference tournaments as per usual. The new model was developed only as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is not set to continue in future seasons. Both Arch Madness and Hoops in the Heartland are planning on running in St. Louis and Moline, respectively, per the press release.. 

Schedules are set to be unveiled in early December, and additional announcements regarding television broadcasts will follow. 

The Loyola men’s basketball team was set to begin conference play Dec. 30 whereas the women’s team was set for Jan. 1. These dates will most likely change, according to Loyola Assistant Athletic Director of Communications Bill Behrns. 

In addition to the new scheduling model, the Presidents Council also affirmed the use of KINEXON SafeZone technology to improve contrant tracing among the teams in the MVC. 

“KINEXON SafeZone technology utilizes lightweight, wearable devices, called SafeTags, which will be used conference-wide by basketball student-athletes, coaches and select staff during practices and games,” the press release said. 

Loyola men’s basketball head coach Porter Moser, Loyola women’s basketball head coach Kate Achter and MVC Commissioner Doug Elgin were not available for comment. 

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