KANSAS CITY, Mon. – On March 11, 2020, the tires in what was then the Sprint Center came to a standstill.
41 Action News sat down with Kathy Nelson, CEO of the Kansas City Sports Commission. The night game was interrupted.
“This is maybe the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in my adult life with sports,” she said at the time.
As Nelson reflected on that moment, he said that even if he knew it was the right thing to do, the decision was not an easy one.
“I think I felt guilty. I felt like we just ruined a young person’s last game,” she said. “I knew the decision was made with the right plan. I knew it was the right decision. I knew that everyone involved in that decision was doing the right thing, but still feeling the loss.”
A year later, the Big 12 Championships for men and women in Kansas City picked up a tip.
“So much is different, but we still have the same energy and the same feeling. It’s more complicated to have a championship, a basketball championship for men and women, during a pandemic. I never thought I’d say that.” said Nelson said.
The hardest part, Neslon said, is figuring out how to keep everyone healthy.
“The whole medical and health part is new and complicated, sometimes scary. How do you protect everyone? I want my employees to be safe. I want the athletes to be safe. How do you work this through? It’s a whole.” Another level, said Nelson. “If we’re not feeling well, we could get tested. These athletes are tested every day. They have to take a test before they leave campus. They are tested when they arrive and then they are tested here every day. “
All teams stay in a hotel to create a kind of bubble. The sports commission’s staff will be significantly reduced during the games. The capacity in the T-Mobile Center will be reduced and masks and pod seats for fans will be required.
“I feel like we are there and now we just have to bend over and get over it. I think this is the right step to open that door. We are ready for it. We are ready to show you on national television about what our city is doing around college basketball, “said Nelson.
On March 18, Kansas City will once again be the focus of the Men’s NAIA Division 1 Championship.