As the year creeps into the fall, college basketball is beginning to feel the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. The NCAA has pushed the start of the season back to Nov. 25, which has affected some early-season tournaments and events.
The Veteran’s Classic — hosted annually at the Naval Academy — is officially a COVID-19 casualty.
Navy men’s basketball coach Ed DeChellis told the Capital Gazette on Tuesday that the event has been canceled for 2020. The classic, typically featuring four teams, is often held around Veteran’s Day. This year’s games were expected to be played on Friday, Nov. 13.
“It’s very disappointing we cannot hold the Veterans Classic this season. It has developed into such a great event and we looked forward to hosting it every year,” DeChellis told Bill Wagner of the Capital. “Unfortunately, with the season now starting two weeks later than normal, we just could not make it work.”
Last year’s Veteran’s Classic saw national runner-up Auburn take on mid-major power Davidson, while Navy faced East Carolina. The Mids welcomed Maryland, Providence and Wichita State to the yard in 2018. Pitt, Alabama and Memphis came to Annapolis in 2017.
The lineup for this year’s Veteran’s Classic was supposed to feature nearby schools in Towson, George Washington and St. Joe’s, in addition to Navy. DeChellis hopes that this is a “one-year pause.”
The next Veteran’s Classic will be the seventh edition.
Navy is coming off a 14-16 season in 2019-20. This season will be DeChellis’ 10th year on the job. Under his direction, Navy has not finished better than third in the Patriot League.