The University of Wisconsin-Madison women’s basketball team’s first game of the season against Miami (Ohio) on Wednesday has officially been postponed due to COVID-19 protocols for the Redhawks.
The Badgers’ new season opener is now set to take place this Sunday when they host Western Illinois at the Kohl Center at 2 p.m. As of Tuesday, the game against MIA-OH has not been rescheduled.
A last-minute reschedule for the season opener is not just a problem for the Badgers. Many men’s and women’s basketball teams across the country are having to postpone their season openers and future games due to COVID-19 protocol.
The No. 3 UConn women’s basketball team announced on Monday that they are shutting down the start of their season after one person tested positive in the program. All players and staff will now have to quarantine for two weeks. This cancelation has affected a few future games: they are set to play No. 5 Louisville on Dec. 4 — considered a top matchup this season — Maine Nov. 29 and Seton Hall on Dec. 6.
While most teams are continuing the season and just postponing games on a fluid basis, some women’s teams have decided to completely opt out of the season, like Florida A&M this week. They join the entire Ivy League and Cal-State Northridge in waiting to take the court until next fall.
In Men’s Basketball, No. 9 Duke and Arizona have canceled their season openers. According to the Blue Devil’s Twitter account, Duke was to play Gardner-Webb but canceled plans after news of a positive test within the Gardner-Webb roster. Arizona will do the same and cancel their game against Northern Arizona.
As more cancelations appear, it seems that college basketball is not getting off to a good start with protecting teams from COVID-19. The virus is worsening nationwide and it is reflecting through college basketball. Some experts are voicing their doubts about the college season in general.
I don’t see how they can do it,” Dr. Henry Raymond, an associate professor and epidemiologist at the Rutgers School of Public Health, told the New York Post on Saturday. “They’re going to turn up cases every two weeks, and they’re going to have to keep going back into quarantine.”
The NCAA must enforce stricter rules and regulations regarding COVID-19 or else the season could see postpones and cancellations regularly. Maybe even strict bubble environments for teams like college football has done will bring greater success for these programs to fight and prevent the spread of the virus.
These teams and medical professionals need to determine if college basketball is honestly worth playing if it is going to increase the community spread of the virus. As of right now nobody truly knows, but since teams have already canceled their seasons due to COVID-19 it shows that some teams are operating on the side of caution.