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Positive COVID-19 tests arise across CAA as conference’s programs begin conference play

SportsCAA NewsPositive COVID-19 tests arise across CAA as conference’s programs begin conference play

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Patrick LaPorte/THE

The CAA has currently postponed 17 conference games as multiple programs are faced with COVID-19 complications.

Managing Sports Editor

The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) opened up conference play to more than just basketball, as multiple men’s and women’s basketball programs have already postponed series due to positive COVID -19 tests within programs around the conference.

The first weekend of conference play, stretching from Jan. 2 to Jan. 5, saw a total of nine games get postponed, while another eight games were postponed for the weekends of Jan. 9-10 and Jan. 16-17. According to statements released by the CAA, dates for the shelved matchups are set to come at later dates.

In a Dec. 30 media teleconference, conference commissioner Joe D’Antonio said that pauses are to be expected as COVID-19 cases remain at high levels around the country.

“We anticipate unfortunately that there will be some stops and starts,” D’Antonio said.

In order for a team to be eligible for the NCAA tournament in March, teams are required to play a total of at least 13 games. Commissioner D’Antonio hopes to get every team in the conference to reach that number come tournament time.

“Our ultimate goal is obviously to get everyone to that 13 number so that they are indeed eligible for the NCAA tournament,” D’Antonio said.

Of the five teams that currently have team activities paused, Towson’s men’s program played only five games. UNCW’s men’s team played the most games currently with nine, while the three women’s teams on hold in Towson, Charleston and Elon have played eight, six and six games respectively.

A new rule by the NCAA this season does allow every team to let one of its conference tournament games count towards the thirteen games they must play, according to D’Antonio. All teams within the CAA are able to compete in the conference tournament.

D’Antonio said if a team cannot complete the required 13 game mark, it will be able to fill out waivers through the NCAA to gain eligibility for the tournament.

To counter the new occurrences of COVID-19 within the conference, the CAA has already moved around both men’s and women’s games to allow healthy teams to play.

After the postponement of Charleston’s matchup with Delaware on Jan. 2-3, the Blue Hens scheduled a matchup against Northeastern on Jan. 4-5. Northeastern’s first weekend of games were postponed due to a positive test in Elon’s women’s program.

Elon and James Madison’s men’s teams saw their matchup pushed up a week from Jan. 16-17 to Jan. 9-10 after matchups against Towson and UNCW were put on ice respectively.

The CAA adopted a new format for the conference’s schedule this season, with CAA team’s playing each other twice in the same location to limit travel among the programs.

Towson Head Coach Pat Skerry talked about the challenges of his team’s COVID positive test.

“It’s hard, it’s unfortunate, you don’t have a lot of control over it, and I feel for our kids because obviously they want to play,” Skerry said on his teleconference call. “This is more difficult in many, many ways because you feel for the kids mentally.”

Currently in the United States, over 20 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported with over 350,000 people dying from the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.




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