Turns out the top four teams left out of March Madness won't have their bubbles burst quite yet.
Under a contingency plan released Thursday by the Division I basketball committees, those four at-large teams that don't make the original field in the men's and women's NCAA tournaments will be placed in order and serve as the replacement teams should any conference with multiple bids have a school that is unable to participate because of COVID-19 issues.
If the tournament begins without any withdrawals, the four would still be eligible to compete in the NIT.
The contingency plan applies only to the short period between the announcement of the brackets – March 14 for men and March 15 for women – and the start of games later that week. Once a tournament begins, any team whose opponent is forced to withdraw would automatically advance to the next round.
If there are COVID-19 issues with a qualifying school leading up to the NCAA Tournament selection, conferences get to designate a replacement team and it will be seeded in the bracket based upon its own body of work.
Gamecocks put on probation
South Carolina's men's basketball program was placed on probation for two years by the NCAA for former assistant coach Lamont Evans accepting between $3,300 and $5,800 in bribes from a sports agent.
Beasley forced to sit out 12 games
Minnesota shooting guard Malik Beasley was suspended for 12 games without pay by the NBA for his recent guilty plea to a felony charge of threats of violence. He was sentenced this month to 120 days in jail for the Sept. 26 incident, when he pointed a rifle outside his home in suburban Minneapolis at a family on a house-hunting tour.
Investigation report sought
Twenty female former Washington Football Team employees asked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to release the final report of an independent investigation into the organization's conduct. The NFL in July took over control of the investigation, which the letters from the employees and their lawyers indicated is now complete.
Tennessee waived wide receiver Adam Humphries after he played only 19 games over the past two seasons. The Titans also announced they also waived defensive backs Chris Milton and Breon Borders. They signed defensive lineman Jullian Taylor to a contract.
Denver cuts tackle Casey
Denver released veteran defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, freeing up about $12 million in salary cap space two weeks after the release of veteran cornerback A.J. Bouye saved them a similar amount against the cap.
Big Ten adds trophy game
The Big Ten is adding a 16th trophy game in football to honor the first Black man to play in the conference. Northwestern and Michigan will meet for the George Jewett Trophy beginning in October, the schools announced. Jewett played football at both schools in the 1890s.
Garrett senior forward Kenan Kennedy has signed with the Great Lakes Christian College men's soccer team. Kennedy was the Railroaders' leading scorer last fall with 18 goals and seven assists.
Boston teams to get fans in March
The Boston Celtics and Bruins will be able to play in front of a limited number of fans starting March 22, and the Red Sox could host more than 4,500 fans at Fenway Park on opening day. Gov. Charlie Baker announced that Massachusetts was moving to phase 4 of its coronavirus reopening plan.