Wright State AD ‘optimistic’ about college basketball season

Bob Grant interview (Aug. 13)

With the Horizon League’s cancellation of the fall sports season on Thursday, attention will now focus on the winter sports season.

“I don’t have any inside knowledge right now at all,” Wright State Athletic Director Bob Grant said, “but my firm belief is there will be some type of college basketball season. I truly believe that. Scott Nagy and Katrina Merriweather, they’re ready to roll. They’re both loaded with talent. My guess is both will be picked to win the league. I want basketball to happen. I know our fans do. We’ve done all kinds of studies of what that can look like what. What would a truncated season look like? We are definitely tracking all that. I’m optimistic.”

Nagy’s men’s basketball team and Merriweather’s women’s team combined for 44 victories last season. Each did get to play in the Horizon League tournament before the college basketball season came to a halt March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Wright State lost its spring season at the same time. Now its fall teams won’t get to compete during their normal time of the year, though the Horizon League announced it will make a decision at a later date on whether those teams will be able to compete in the spring.

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The Horizon League at first postponed the start of the fall season until Oct. 1, making that announcement July 16. Thursday’s decision came on the same day the NCAA announced the cancellation of all fall sports championships.

“We can not have at this point fall NCAA championships because there aren’t enough schools participating,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a video posted by the NCAA’s official Twitter account. “The board of governors established if you don’t have half of the schools playing a sport, you can’t have a legitimate championship. We can’t in any Division I NCAA championship sport now, which is everything other than FBS football, that goes on in the fall. Sadly, tragically, that’s going to be the case this fall, full stop.”

The Horizon League’s decision affects Wright State’s men’s and women’s soccer teams, men’s and women’s cross country team, men’s golf team and women’s volleyball team.

“I can tell you as a competitor and speaking for our student-athletes — our awesome student-athletes and our coaches — this stinks right now,” Grant said. “If you’re a competitor, this is not a good situation.”

Grant mentioned Wright State won the McCafferty Trophy last June for the first time. The award goes to the most successful university in the league with men’s and women’s teams earning points based on where they finish in the Horizon League championships.

“You look at what our volleyball team accomplished last fall,” Grant said. “First (Wright State) team ever to get an at-large bid to the NCAAs. They are back and loaded and ready to roll. So they’re in neutral right now. Our men’s soccer team went to the NCAAs last year. I believe they are the best team in the league. Knocked Notre Dame out of the NCAAs. They’re now parked in neutral. I’m hopeful that we’ll have something developed so we can play in the spring. That’ll be determined at some point in the future. We’re back again to being super fluid, and everything is still somewhat uncertain.”

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