College basketball's Gavitt Games between Big East, Big Ten canceled due to coronavirus

The 2020 Gavitt Tipoff Games between the Big East Conference and Big Ten Conference has been canceled, Big East commissioner Val Ackerman announced Wednesday.

"Due to conditions brought on by the pandemic, we and the Big Ten have mutually agreed to cancel the 2020 Gavitt Tipoff Games," Ackerman said at the Big East's virtual media day. "The games were scheduled to be played the week of Nov. 16, so unfortunately, they cannot be played as originally played due to the season pushback date. Due to other early-season commitments involving Big Ten and Big East schools, and adjustments which we've made to the earlier timing of conference play, we felt that the spirit of the challenge would be best-served by a one-year hiatus.

"It is our plan to resume that competition using the traditional concentrated Gavitt Games format at the start of the 2021-22 basketball season."

The Gavitt Games began in 2015 and includes eight games played each season between the Big East and Big Ten. The Big Ten won the conference battle the last two years after the two conferences tied for the first three years of the series.

The challenge games between the Big East and Big 12 remain on as scheduled this season, with details and matchups to be announced soon.

Ackerman also said on Wednesday that the league has looked at a bubble format for conference play as a potential option later this season.

"It's a possibility," Ackerman said. "We are looking at a variety of game formats that would be an alternative to what we're calling the travel model. Right now, we've been advised by our doctors that the travel model can be made to work, even the way that we travel, given our in-venue preparations. The NCAA guidance does not discourage that and have offered some parameters about how to do that safely, so we've taken all of that to heart. So that's Plan A for us, is to travel like we normally do and to have games scattered throughout the week."

The Big East announced the first part of its conference schedule on Wednesday, with conference play beginning on Dec. 11 with three games. The conference schedule is finalized through only Dec. 23 for now.

"If we determine that another model is safer and/or necessary, we're going to be in a position to pivot to that," Ackerman said. "And that could include a single-venue format for all of our schools, for some portion of our schools. We do have to take into consideration how we're managing women's basketball as well. It may be that we decide on some format that's regionally focused. For example, in our Eastern Seaboard, that's really good travel, because everybody can get every place else largely by bus, so that's a possibility. It may be that our schedule has to come to that, but we're not prepared to make that decision today.

"Models are on the table. We're going to do our best to pick the one that most suits our needs and provides the safest environment for our athletes at whatever time we have to make that decision."