The NBL1 season is over before it even got a chance to tip off.
The league today announced that all three conferences will not proceed in 2020. Basketball Victoria, Basketball Queensland and Basketball South Australia in conjunction with the NBL, have notified clubs of the decision not to proceed with the 2020 season. It comes following the three South clubs withdrawing last week and with others weighing up similar decisions.
With the indefinite closure of indoor sports centres because of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the league had previously postponed all three conferences, NBL1 South, NBL1 North and NBL1 Central, until May 15. The rapidly changing landscape and increased government imposed restrictions, resulted in the league offices making the difficult decision to instead focus on 2021.
“Obviously this is unfortunate but it is the most appropriate decision under the current circumstances," said NBL Chief Operating Officer Andy Crook in the official release. "The health and safety of players, staff and officials as well as the wider community comes first.
“We also want to allow the clubs to focus on re-establishing grassroots basketball as a matter of priority when the time is right.
“I want to acknowledge the efforts of everyone involved in NBL1, in particular Basketball Victoria, Basketball Queensland, Basketball South Australia and all of our clubs and players.
“We will work with them as we continue to monitor the situation and work towards resuming basketball at a community level at the appropriate time.”
Geelong and Ballarat were the first teams to formally withdraw from the 2020 NBL season on Thursday, 19 March 2020, citing "the best interests of the physical and well-being of all athletes, members, supporters, staff, volunteers and match officials during this unprecedented global health pandemic caused by COVID-19."
It is a time where all state-governed basketball associations have ceased to a halt, with a byproduct being a sudden loss of revenue.
With NBL1 now shut down for the year, clubs with their limited financial resources can now focus on the reestablishment of their member clubs once the current global pandemic threat has eased.
As much as it pains to write, the decision to cancel the NBL1 season is a good one, with the long-term best interest of the sport at the heart.