VCU basketball 2021 39;Multiple positive39; COVID.19 tests doom

VCU basketball 2021 39;Multiple positive39; COVID.19 tests doom
VCU, oregon basketball

VCU basketball 2021 39;Multiple positive39; COVID.19 tests doom

VCU basketball VCU basketball tests doom 'Multiple positive' COVID-19

Sat, 20 Mar 2021 16:00:00 -0700

VCU becomes first team pulled from NCAA Tournament because of COVID-19 protocols; Oregon advances without playing


INDIANAPOLIS — VCU became the first team pulled from NCAA Tournament because of COVID-19 protocols Saturday evening.

The NCAA said the 10th-seeded Rams’ first-round game Saturday against Oregon was declared a no-contest.

As a result, seventh-seeded Oregon advanced to the second round without playing.

Brutal way to exit the NCAA tournament

“Brutal way to exit the NCAA tournament,” CBS 6 Sports Director Lane Casadonte said.

The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee said the decision, which came a little more than three hours before the teams were set to play in the West Region, was made in consult with the Marion County Public Health Department.

“The NCAA and the committee regret that VCU’s student-athletes and coaching staff, will not be able to play in a tournament in which they earned the right to participate,” NCAA officials wrote.

Tournament officials said they could not comment further “because of privacy issues.”

VCU Athletics Director: Team did ‘excellent job following COVID-19 protocols’

VCU Vice President and Director of Athletics Ed McLaughlin said the team just learned of this week’s positive tests Saturday and was informed at 6:20 p.m.

that the game would be a no-contest.

While McLaughlin would not confirm number of positive tests, he said VCU had enough kids to play the game tonight.

“Health department concern comes from multiple positive tests in the past 48 hours,” McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin, who had hoped that the could play by utilizing contact tracing, said they cannot tell where the positives started as the team has been in quarantine since Sunday night and tested negative originally.

However, McLaughlin said the committee felt that with multiple positives in such a short period of time, there was a concern for everyone involved with tonight’s game.

This is the second straight year that VCU’s season has ended off the court.

“It’s hard for our student-athletes,” McLaughlin said.

“They’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do from a COVID protocol perspective.”

McLaughlin said the team did an “excellent job following COVID-19 protocols,” including since the team arrived in Indianapolis.

“We are heartbroken for our student-athletes, coaches, campus community, and fans,” McLaughlin added.

“Our team earned the opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament.”

McLaughlin said the team would not do anything differently.

“We did the right things,” he said.

“I don’t know if it’s bad luck, it’s just terrible.

There isn’t anything we would change.”

Head Coach: ‘They knew how I am about this stuff…

It just stinks’

VCU Head Coach Mike Rhoades said the team was re-tested Saturday and went through contact tracing.

“I felt pretty good because we had enough guys,” Rhoades said.

“You could see that even though we were missing guys, the others wanted to play.”

While Rhoades called the decision devastating and heartbreaking and acknowledged “there were no dry eyes,” he said “we’ve lost two basketball games to this.

500,000 people have lost their lives.”

Rhoades also mentioned talking to former player Justin Tillman after he lost both parents.

“That was a much tougher conversation than the one I just had,” Rhoades said.

He said the team has been tested “every day for the past three weeks, but within the past 48 hours we’ve received multiple positive tests.”

“It has been a dream for all of us to play in the NCAA Tournament,” he said.

“We appreciate the care of our doctors and administration this year, and all our efforts and attention will be put into our players at this time.”

The coach noted that these are the first positive COVID-19 tests his team has had all season.

“They followed protocol.

They knew how I am about this stuff,” Rhoades said.

“We just got stuck here in the past 24 hours.

It just stinks.”

Rhoades said there was “no one person to blame” and that “we’re all in this together.”

He also said he would not question the decision of the Marion County health department, who ultimately said it was too risky to play.

“No matter what time of the year, when you have multiple positives like we did, there’s going to be issues,” Rhoades said.

VCU followed Atlantic 10 Conference, University and Virginia Department of Health guidelines to prioritize the safety of student-athletes, coaches, and staff as well as the VCU community, according to school officials.

The positive players will return to Richmond via land transportation and go straight into isolation, according to McLaughlin.

A-10 commissioner on VCU: ‘Disappointing and heartbreaking’

Atlantic 10 Commissioner Bernadette V.

McGlade called the decision to prohibit VCU from competing disheartening.

“This is tremendously disappointing and heartbreaking for the student-athletes who’ve worked so hard for this opportunity,” McGlade said.

“During this pandemic, the medical advisory boards have the authority to make this decision for the safety and welfare all of the student-athletes, staff and teams.

VCU has had an outstanding year, and this setback does not diminish any of their accomplishments.”

Stay with and watch CBS 6 News for complete coverage of this developing story.


VCU basketball VCU basketball

Sat, 20 Mar 2021 16:00:00 -0700

The NCAA tournament is back, but perhaps inevitably, COVID-19's impact was felt in a brutal way on Saturday


INDIANAPOLIS — Sometime between 6:20 and 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, Mike Rhoades had the worst duty of any coach in the men's NCAA tournament.

He called his VCU Rams team into the hallway outside their rooms on the 16th floor of the J.W.

Marriott here and informed them that their season was over without getting to play in the Big Dance.

“It was devastating,” Rhoades says.

“It was heartbreaking.

There were not a lot of dry eyes.

You dream of this as a player, and to have it taken away like this is a heartbreaking affair.”

It was taken away by COVID-19, which remains a scourge even as the country sprints through vaccinations and toward further reopening.

Part of the nudge in optimism being felt in America was having an NCAA tournament again, after the pandemic canceled the men's and women's last year, and the chance to celebrate it in a more communal fashion.

And then here came the gut-punch reminder that it can still be taken away.

About three hours before its first-round game against No.

7 seed Oregon, tenth-seeded VCU was pulled from the tournament in a joint decision by the Marion County Public Health Department and the NCAA.

The Rams had experienced multiple positive tests in recent days, and health experts raised concerns about a cluster outbreak.

VCU said it had enough healthy players to play the game—the NCAA had previously said a team with five guys could play—but that was overridden. 

VCU had been waiting much of the day for final approval from the NCAA to play the game.

The later it went without word, the more Rhoades started getting nervous.

The Rams had their pregame meal on their hotel floor still planning to depart as scheduled for Indiana Farmers Coliseum when the word finally was passed down—first to athletic director Ed McLaughlin and then from him to Rhoades. 

Just as suddenly as last year, the season was over for VCU.

March Sadness rained down on the Rams again, just as it did when the 2020 season was abruptly canceled.

But Rhoades was philosophical about it, trying to keep the bigger picture in mind.

“We’re talking about two basketball games,” he said.

“There’s been over 500,000 deaths.

As devastated as we are over a basketball game—two, right?—there are people who have had it a lot worse than us.”

He’s right, of course.

But this was the NCAA tournament’s worst-case scenario come to life, perhaps inevitably.

The chances of getting 67 games played was probably remote, for good reason.

On the third day of a three-week tourney, we lost the first one.

We previously have lost plenty of regular-season games in both football and basketball to positive tests and contact tracing.

We lost bowl games and conference tournament games (more on that later).

But this is the most significant lost competition thus far.

This is college sports on a high wire.

“This is the world we live in,” said Troy team physician Jeff Dugas.

“We knew it wasn't going to be perfect.

We did the best we could to make it as low-risk as we could, but you could never make it zero-risk.

Everything was done understanding that you can’t have it be perfect.”

While trying to figure out where the protocols and protections broke down, VCU school officials believe strongly that they did everything they could do to stay healthy.

The basketball team had had no positive tests since last summer, and had no pauses during the season.

“I think we did the right things all the way through,” McLaughlin said.

“I don’t know if it’s bad luck or what it is.

It’s just terrible.”

There has been some rumination about a possible path that leads back to the Atlantic 10 tournament in Dayton—and maybe even a tangent to the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro.

But nothing is remotely certain.

Concerns were raised by some sources about the Dayton Marriott as a source of VCU’s issues.

That’s where the A-10 teams and officials were staying.

One of the officials who worked the A-10 title game against St.

Bonaventure was Roger Ayers, who since has tested positive and missed the men's NCAA tournament. 

Prior to coming to town to work that game, Ayers also worked two games in the ACC tourney—on Wednesday March 16 he did Louisville–Duke, and the Blue Devils tested out of the tourney the following day.

On Thursday, March 17 he did Miami–Georgia Tech, and Yellow Jackets big man Moses Wright subsequently tested positive and missed the NCAA tourney.

(Virginia also had to drop out of the ACC tourney due to COVID-19 issues, and the Cavaliers barely made it to Indy for this tourney.

They arrived Friday afternoon, practiced once Saturday morning and played Saturday night—whereupon they were bounced by Ohio.)

Dugas said “there’s no way to responsibly connect” all the basketball positive tests.

“There’s too many other opportunities for infection,” he added.

"So many other variables.” Nobody is saying Ayers—or a Duke player or whoever—is Patient Zero of this college basketball situation.

However, some of the sport's officials privately are wondering about the NCAA’s handling of the refs who are and aren’t working this tournament.

Five of them who had dinner with Ayers were removed from the tournament by contact tracing, but the two who worked that A-10 final with him have been allowed to officiate here: Bert Smith and Brent Hampton.

Smith officiated the Loyola Chicago–Georgia Tech game Friday and USC–Drake Saturday; Hampton worked the North Texas–Purdue game Friday. 

While VCU might wonder about how all this came to knock them out of the NCAA tournament, that knowledge wouldn’t change anything.

The bottom line: the season is over without seeing how far the Rams might have gone.

They would have been underdogs to Oregon, but Rhoades said the team’s practices in Indy had been among their best of the season.

But instead of playing Saturday night, the school was making preparations to send most of its team home Saturday night, while also arranging safe ground transportation for those who had tested positive.

Credit VCU for being available to the media to discuss what happened and answer questions, on a painful day when the Rams' legs were cut out from under them.

And then note that nobody from the NCAA addressed the situation beyond a prepared statement.

“It’s brutal,” said McLaughlin.

“It’s the only way I can describe it.

… I’m heartbroken for our student-athletes and coaches.

Probably best to leave it there.”

Everyone who remains in Indy will fervently hope they’re not next.

The Wildcats, who have only been D-I since 2013, took down an in-state power to end the Round of 64 with a bang.

Check out the full schedule of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, which tips off on March 21.

Check out the complete schedule for the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Position-by-position rankings, landing spots and analysis of all the free-agent signings.


14 seed Abilene Christian took down No.

3 Texas in a defensive struggle thanks to clutch free throws by Joe Pleasant.

The men’s first round continues Saturday; follow along as SI keeps you updated as the Round of 32 gets set.

Timme started accentuating his mustache as a celebration after highlight plays earlier in the season.

Named after Tony Bennett, the Bobcats junior had a big day against his dad’s former teammate.


– March 21, 2021
VCU, oregon basketball

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