Managerial Life Changes in Bizarre 2020

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Student managers are an integral part of any college basketball program. Pictured are three student managers with the Duke men's basketball coaching staff.

The life of a college basketball student manager is extremely busy and hectic. In addition to balancing school and a social life, a manager undertakes similar responsibilities to those of the players themselves. As someone who has worked for both Cleveland State and John Carroll University’s men’s basketball programs, I can say without question that despite the at times grueling hours, the job is extremely worthwhile for someone who lives and breathes basketball.

Attending and helping facilitate daily practices are a huge part of the job, and with COVID-19 playing a huge factor in this season’s operations, all managers must follow the guidelines the NCAA put in place. This probably equates to wearing masks at all times inside buildings and during practices and eventual games. In addition to masks, managers will have to be extra careful as to who they spend their downtime with, as an irresponsible decision in one’s personal life could lead to significant consequences in this COVID era.

Despite this, teams should still be able to conduct chemistry building activities off the floor, managers included. One aspect of the manager’s job that differ in 2020 is traveling to road games. In a normal year, managers are given the option of whether or not they would like to travel with the team on road trips or plane rides. While this still could be the case for larger programs, I would imagine to cut down on the number of people being transported during the pandemic, younger managers might not receive the option to travel for road games.

Personally, my favorite part of the job was the relationships I developed with the players and other managers, some of whom I consider dear friends to this day. While the bizarre nature of 2020 might impact what one does off the court, it is very much business as usual on it, as both players and coachers alike get ready for the season. Managers still should have the opportunities to connect with the players and their fellow managers, as long as they follow the proper guidelines the NCAA has put forth in order to protect everyone involved in the program.

Players and managers around the country share a similar responsibility this season off the court, as COVID-19 cases continue to skyrocket around the country. In order for this season to be successfully completed, both players and managers must carry themselves as if they are professional athlete. While that might not be fair to ask college kids to do that, we’ve already seen the effect COVID-19 can have on college football as games from schools around the country have been forced to cancel games due to outbreaks.

Despite basketball being easier to pull off due to less players on one team, it is still critical for those players and managers to act in a professional manner off the floor, to help ensure this season gets completed. Managerial work can be extremely rewarding for someone especially interested in the game of basketball, but due to the bizarre circumstances of 2020 the job description intensifies even more.

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