(KMOV.com) — By now we all realize that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused various ripples in the sports landscape. Even as we approach seven months since the coronavirus first forced all major North American sports to shut down, however, never-before-seen scenarios are still being created.
If you had 'riveting live broadcast of a coin flip' on your 2020 bingo card, step on down to claim your prize. That's exactly what took place Thursday night between the University of Missouri and the University of Illinois, as the two schools determined the venue of their annual Braggin' Rights basketball game.
The game is typically played in St. Louis at Scottrade Center, a neutral site nearly equidistant for fans of the rivals on the hardwood, but COVID put that plan on pause for the year. Still hoping to see the rivalry play out, however, both sides went back to the drawing board to find a way to make it happen, determining that this year's event would be played on one of the two campuses—the coin would decide which one. Missouri won the coin flip and the right to host the game on December 12 at Mizzou Arena.
Andy Katz, a reporter for NCAA, served as the official coin-flipper in a broadcast that was streamed live across the schools' various social media channels. The athletic directors for the two universities, Jim Sterk and Josh Whitman, were also present virtually for the big moment.
Because of the COVID restrictions currently in place throughout the Big 10 and the state of Illinois, both sides agreed that fans would not be permitted to attend the game regardless of which school hosted.
"Before we could feel comfortable going to either site, we felt like we had to have a comparable experience in both places," Illinois AD Josh Whitman said. "So that was an important piece for us, and grateful to Jim for agreeing to that."
Katz said he practiced diligently before the moment arrived to flip the coin on camera, wanting to be sure his mechanics would cause no controversy. He ultimately went with the tried-and-true method of catching the coin and flipping it over on the back of his hand before revealing the result. Though Katz's flip was clean, a keen eye could notice him unintentionally reveal the bottom side of the coin to the camera as he went to turn it onto the back of his hand.
Did anyone else notice this and thereby recognize Missouri as the winner before it was revealed? Exhilarating stuff, more televised coin flips, please. pic.twitter.com/FlH7dHQbxH— Brenden Schaeffer (@bschaeffer12) November 13, 2020
The University of Missouri is now undefeated all-time in coin flips to determine the venue of the Braggin' Rights Game. Illinois leads the rivalry on the court, however, 32-18.
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