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Maui Invitational still on but Stanford out

Chaminade’s Nov. 2 game at Maples is off

Chaminade basketball coach Eric Bovaird implores his team at a recent Maui Jim Maui Invitational game at the Lahaina Civic Center. This year’s tournament is set for Nov. 23-25. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

For now, the Maui Jim Maui Invitational is still a go for its scheduled Nov. 23-25 run at the Lahaina Civic Center. The field, however, is in flux.

Tuesday’s announcement that the Pac-12 Conference was postponing all athletic competition through the end of the year due to the coronavirus pandemic means at least one team in the eight-team field, Stanford, will not be participating in the premier men’s college basketball tournament.

“At this time, we expect the Maui Jim Maui Invitational to proceed as scheduled,” event organizer KemperLesnik said in a statement emailed to The Maui News on Wednesday. “The Tournament is evaluating various contingencies should the event not be able to be played on Maui due to the pandemic. Our top priority remains the health and safety of our players, staff and dedicated fans.”

The Cardinal were scheduled to join Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Texas and UNLV in the 37th annual event.

“Due to the Pac-12’s recent announcement regarding the postponement of all athletic competitions, the Tournament is working with our partners at Stanford Athletics to understand how this will affect their ability to participate in the 2020 Maui Jim Maui Invitational,” KemperLesnik said.

Stanford spokesman Zach Reynolds was more succinct.

“Per the Pac-12 announcement, our program will not take part in any competitions prior to Jan. 1,” he said in an email. “Any rescheduling of events would need to coincide with additional postponements from conferences around the country – it is too early at this time to know what our schedule will look like.”

Tournament host Chaminade, which is in the Maui bracket every other year and is not scheduled to compete at the LCC in 2020, had a signed contract to play an exhibition game against Stanford at Maples Pavilion on Nov. 2. That game is now canceled.

Chaminade coach Eric Bovaird said his team would love to step in to the Stanford void if that would fix the problem.

“Oh absolutely, absolutely,” Bovaird said. “We love playing in the Maui portion of the Maui Invitational. Of course, if they wanted us to we would definitely jump in, at least from my perspective.”

The Silverswords are still slated to play Nov. 6 at UNLV.

“That’s the news that I got … it looks like Stanford is not going to play any sports the first semester,” Bovaird said. “Definitely disappointed not traveling to Stanford this year. I’ve never been on the campus and I’ve always heard great things about the campus and their facility and everything like that, so we were really looking forward to going there.

“Maybe we’ll play in the future. I know that everybody is in a holding pattern trying to figure out exactly what to do. We’re just going to take it day by day and work with KemperLesnik on what are the best plans.”

The PacWest, an NCAA Division II conference that Chaminade is a member of, has said that no fall sports will be played in 2020 with the hope of moving them to the spring. No decision has yet been made on winter sports, including basketball.

“They’re going to make a decision on winter sports on October 1st or by October 1st,” Bovaird said. “So, we’re just kind of waiting to see there.”

Chaminade is starting its academic semester remotely Aug. 24 and then after three weeks “the plan right now is to bring students back to in-person instruction on campus,” Bovaird said. “That’s what I know now.”

Bovaird keeps in contact with his players as often as possible, both through weekly team Zoom calls and “individual calls pretty frequently,” Bovaird said.

“As things keep changing nonstop, we’re in constant communication with our guys,” Bovaird said. “I’m pretty optimistic right now that they’ll figure out a way to have college basketball. I’m not sure if it’ll maybe be postponed a little bit, or it will be in certain pods or whatever. It’s definitely not going to go to what it was a year ago, but we’re optimistic that we can figure out something to have some sort of a season.”

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