What can we glean from the Richmond, UVA hoops COVID-19 stories?

covid-19

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The hard part to the Pause College Hoops movement that seems to have sprung from Coach K’s comments after the Duke beatdown the other night is the story at the University of Richmond.

UR, on the heels of a huge win at Kentucky on Nov. 29, had to shut down for a week because three staffers tested positive for COVID-19.

Coach Chris Mooney said this week upon the program’s return from its enforced hiatus that the three had tested negative multiple times on the trip to Kentucky, then tested negative multiple times after the lone set of positives.

“I don’t know if it’s officially ruled a false positive, or not ruled a false positive, but that’s difficult to wrap your head around, and unfortunate,” Mooney said. “That part is really frustrating and hard to just dismiss because we do feel like we are doing so many things right and trying to give ourselves the best chance to play.”

It’s bad enough that the program had to miss a week of practice and three games. Five players got caught up in the story because of contact tracing – forced to self-isolate, to the point of having to have their meals delivered to them.

Because three people who had tested negative multiple times before and then multiple times after each had one false positive test.

Which takes us up I-64 to the University of Virginia, where things are getting ugly after the defending national champs had to cancel their ACC/Big Ten Challenge game with Michigan State scheduled for Wednesday, because of what two press releases from Virginia Athletics termed “COVID-19 issues within its program.”

Note that we haven’t been let in on whether a player, coach or staffer tested positive, one of the above came into contact with someone who had tested positive, someone had come into contact with someone who is awaiting a test result.

“COVID-19 issues.”

Where things are getting ugly here is that: yes, Michigan State was already in Charlottesville when the game was postponed.

Remember the righteous fury that Bronco Mendenhall unleashed at Florida State after he had to fly his team to Tallahassee and then back without getting a game in because FSU had a COVID-19 positive come back the morning of?

Yeah.

The teams scheduled to play in the Challenge had reportedly agreed on pre-competition testing and cancellation guidelines.

Basically, Michigan State shouldn’t have made that one hour, one minute flight from East Lansing to Charlottesville without Virginia knowing that it was going to be able to play.

Sparty coach Tom Izzo hasn’t commented on the fiasco, because he’s a class act, and also because Tony Bennett is a class act, and because Bennett is a class act, there was no funny business to what happened, because what happened here is everybody would rather the headlines be about the game being scuttled rather to game leads to multiple positives.

Which begs the question: do we have a single recorded instance of virus transmission from an athletics competition?

Actually, yes: quick research led me to find one on the CDC website, involving a rec-league hockey game in Florida in June.

Um, rec-league hockey guys don’t get tested every day.

They’re not separating themselves from the rest of the outside world so that they can play hockey.

And they’re not going to sue whoever the contact tracers decide is Patient Zero.

Is that all we’re doing here?

Protecting ourselves from liability?

Flying home after not playing due to a single positive test, or less, “COVID-19 issues.”

Having kids isolate for a week because of false positives.

Hmm, kinda seems like it.

Might this be why they’re plowing forward despite the run of postponements and cancellations.

Note that I didn’t end that sentence with a question mark.

This is exactly what’s going on.

The folks making the decisions know what’s up.

That doesn’t make it any less mentally exhausting to have to deal with.

Story by Chris Graham


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