Saint Leo University is excited to announce the Toronto Raptors will use the university's Marion Bowman Activities Center as the site of their 2020-21 pre-season training camp. The Bowman Center, the permanent home of the Saint Leo Lions NCAA Division II basketball teams, has been unable to welcome many outside visitors since COVID-19 precautions forced a postponement of competitive college play.
The Raptors are not able to play in Toronto due to Canada-U.S. border restrictions and made the decision to temporarily relocate to Tampa, FL. The Raptors will use Saint Leo University facilities, located just a few miles north of Tampa in the town of St. Leo in Pasco County, from December 1 – 11, 2020, as they prepare for the NBA regular season.
"We are excited to host the Toronto Raptors as they prepare for the start of their 2020-21 season," said Saint Leo University Athletic Director Francis X. Reidy. "We are thrilled the Bowman Center can be 'We the South' for a few weeks while the Raptors prepare to play in Tampa this season. We have an outstanding basketball facility that will allow the team to accomplish their preseason goals in a safe, secure environment."
After opening for in-person classes in August, Saint Leo University has managed to maintain a relatively low number of COVID-19 cases among its student population and employees due to a strict adherence to COVID-19 precautions. All members of the community are asked to perform daily health checks, wear masks when in public, and practice social distancing at all times. Additionally, the campus undergoes a rigorous cleaning process daily to ensure common spaces are sanitized.
"Our university community has done exceptionally well during the pandemic. There is a culture of community here that is largely responsible for everyone following the precautions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19," said Saint Leo University President Jeffrey Senese. "The Raptors can expect to be welcomed to a clean, safe, and secure facility where they can prepare for the season without any distractions. We are happy to host them at their temporary home at Saint Leo University which will allow their season to have a successful start."
Practice for Toronto Raptors will be closed to the public. Additionally, no visitors will be permitted at the Marion Bowman Activities Center during this time.