MVC presidents tweak conference hoop schedules

Indiana State basketball fans will be able to enjoy visits from Missouri Valley Conference opponents on back-to-back nights this winter, as a result of decisions made Friday by the MVC Presidents Council.

They won't get to see every conference team, however.

The council acknowledged that athletically related activities will take place only to the extent permitted by local environments and applicable national, state, local and institutional guidelines in order to safeguard the health and safety of participants, staff and fans.

Consistent with those principles, the conference has adopted a new scheduling format for men’s and women's basketball conference games. The conference will continue to play an 18-game format in which most MVC teams will face one another in a two-game series on back-to-back days at the same site.  

The new format significantly reduces travel and places an emphasis on the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and staff, the council said. Each institution will play four road series and four home series and will also face its designated travel partner in a home-and-home series. All conference play begins after Christmas.

As usual, conference results will determine seeding for the State Farm MVC Men's Basketball Championship (March 4-7, 2021) at Enterprise Center in St. Louis and for the MVC Women's Basketball Championship (March 11-14, 2021) at TaxSlayer Center in Moline, Ill. All 10 teams qualify for both events. 

The new scheduling model, adopted for this season only as a response to the global pandemic, will be unveiled in early December, and additional announcements regarding television selections with the league's national television partners ESPN, CBS Sports Network, Fox Sports and NBC Sports Chicago will follow.

The Presidents Council also affirmed the use of KINEXON SafeZone technology to enhance league institutions’ ability to contact trace in men's and women's basketball in the event a team member or opponent tests positive or becomes symptomatic for COVID-19. 

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. SafeTags can accurately calculate the proximity between individuals by distance and length of time in order to perform quick and accurate contact tracing. The devices will also be used by officials during all conference basketball games.

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