NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt has accepted an invitation to participate in next month’s LA Tech Invite, a new and highly-competitive tournament hosted by Louisiana Tech that will become the start to the Commodores’ 2020-21 bowling season.
With the COVID-19 pandemic causing havoc with typical fall scheduling across the nation, Vanderbilt head coach John Williamson was excited to learn the administrative and health requirements and procedures of this event would allow his team the opportunity for safe, competitive action.
“The LA Tech tournament fit our athletic department’s COVID requirements,” Williamson said. “It will have a smaller field and only four teams will be on the lanes at one time. And while it is smaller, it is going to be tremendously competitive with a power-packed field.”
Five of the eight teams are Southland Bowling League powers and are ranked in the preseason top 10. They include Vanderbilt (2), Arkansas State (3), Sam Houston State (5), Stephen F. Austin (7) and Louisiana Tech (9). Tulane (20) and UAB (21) join Prairie View to round out the field.
“It might end up being one of the season’s strongest fields in terms of strength of schedule,” tournament host Matt Nantais, head coach of Louisiana Tech, said.
The tournament will be held Nov. 6-8 in Louisiana Tech’s on-campus Lambright Sports and Wellness Center. No spectators will be admitted, but Nantis notes that the university’s technology staff will livestream each of the 10 games each team will play on Louisiana Tech’s YouTube channel.
The field will be divided into two groups of four. While they compete, Tech will employ a nearby gymnasium for the other teams to warm up.
Teams must take a PCR test within 72 hours of competition and each school’s athletic trainer must fill out a verification form. Upon entering the Lambright Center, everyone will have a temperature check and a questionnaire will be filled out by each competitor each day.
All competitors, coaches and officials will be required to wear masks and the facility will be cleaned between each squad session. Sanitizers will be placed throughout the Center.
“This is the first time our school has ever hosted a tournament and we believe we have put together a safe set of procedures that could become a template for others to follow this season,” Nantais said. “It is a guinea pig event in a way but we have worked closely with our trainers and health officials to provide a safe environment.”