JaBA rues Jamaica Classic NCCA Men's Division cancellation


JaBA rues Jamaica Classic NCCA Men's Division cancellation

Observer West writer

Thursday, November 26, 2020

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ROSE HALL, St James - President of the Jamaica Basketball Association (JaBA), Paulton Gordon, has described this year's cancellation of the Jamaica Classic NCAA Men's Division as a setback for the growth of the sport in Jamaica.

Organisers of the event, first held in 2017 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, cancelled the three-day event —that would have been held last week— because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The onset of the coronavirus earlier this year had also resulted in the cancellation of the end of the season games in March, including the play-offs and also pushed back the start of this season until this weekend.

“We expected the Jamaica Classic to be postponed,” Gordon told the Jamaica Observer West last week, stressing that “we were in dialogue with the organisers who hinted [the cancellation] based on the challenges,” he said, adding that “it's a setback; some of the local players would have been given an opportunity to view first- hand the level required to make it to the NCAA.”

Additionally he said, “The exposure to the college coaches at the clinic gives them a chance to interface and learn.”

According to a notice posted on the event's website, “the decision follows the National Collegiate Athletic Association, with its D1 Council approval, moving the first contest date in men's and women's basketball to November 25 for the 2020-21 season, due to developing and ongoing concerns associated with COVID-19 along with its approach that focuses on the health and safety of student-athletes.”

The popular event that started three years ago, and managed to attract a number of elite NCAA Men's Division 1 basketball teams, became a part of the local sports landscape with all games being broadcast live on the CBS Sports Network to over 60 million homes in the USA.

At last year's event, Jacob Ridenhour, the chief organiser of the event, had told the Jamaica Observer West that Wake Forest of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) had confirmed their participation for this year, and were expected to be joined by other big named teams.

Last year, then 15th-ranked Utah State and Louisiana State University (LSU) headlined the eight teams that took part in the event held from November 22-24, and which attracted standing room crowds on both nights they had games.

Utah State University “Aggies” won the Montego Bay Division, while Eastern Michigan “Eagles” were declared the champions of the Rose Hall Division.

Nicholls State, North Carolina A&T, University of Maryland-Baltimore County, North Texas and Rhode Island also participated last year.

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