COVID-19 causing issues in college sports; Williams, NESCAC schools to play in January without fans – Berkshire Eagle

The COVID-19 Omicron variant has been impacting both college and professional sports. The National Hockey League has shut down until after Christmas. NBA teams have been forced to miss games and adjust rules to sign players on an emergency basis.

But it is in college sports, primarily college basketball, where the disruption has been felt strongest.

More than 50 college basketball teams have gone on pause in the last week to 10 days. The Omicron pause impacted the University of Massachusetts, losing its Wednesday game with NJIT because of COVID issues at the New Jersey school. UMass isn’t scheduled to play again until hosting Saint Louis on Dec. 30.

Williams and MCLA, meanwhile, are off until after Christmas. The two Williams basketball teams don’t return to play until Dec. 29. The hockey teams and the MCLA basketball teams hit the ice and the courts after that.

When the Ephs return to play, they will be playing in front of far fewer fans.

“In light of the rapid onset of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, NESCAC institutions will temporarily require that spectators at indoor NESCAC athletic events be restricted to individuals who are part of the host institution’s testing protocol,” a statement from NESCAC read. “This policy is in effect until the end of January. The Conference will review this policy on a regular basis in the hope that conditions will allow us to return to our usual policies on spectators.”

That would mean students can be permitted to attend but fans from, say Great Barrington or Dalton who are not part of the Williams testing protocol, would not be allowed in.

As to what might happen if a team or teams turn up with enough positive cases to be unable to play a conference game, NESCAC officials have not said if there would be forfeits.

MASCAC commissioner Angela Baumann, in a statement to The Eagle, said they have plans to reschedule games and how to handle any contests that aren’t played.

“The MASCAC’s priority is to keep our student-athletes, staff and campus communities safe,” Baumann wrote. “We have created policies specific to rescheduling games and in the event the games aren’t able to be played, we have procedures in place to award wins and losses and for uneven standings.”

UMass plays in the Atlantic 10 Conference. As of Christmas, the conference is still keeping the possibility of forfeits alive. The conference had determined that if a team did not have enough players or staff to safely play, that game would go in the books as a forfeit.

Atlantic 10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade told Matt Norlander of CBS Sports that her league’s athletic directors are keeping forfeit policies on the books with “agreement to give league authority to reschedule any game and reverse an earlier declared forfeiture.” There will be ongoing reviews about no-contests and postponements.

“We remain fluid and flexible,” McGlade said. “This variant is different, we have the vaccinations that are in play, the booster in play, the protocols are all basically some small versions of insurance policy that hopefully your entire program isn’t closed down because of a positive.”

The A-10 will allow conference games to be rescheduled if interrupted by COVID. Under the current policy, the inability to play will result in a forfeit that would be reversed if the game is played at a later date.

Source: https://www.berkshireeagle.com/sports/college_sports/covid-19-causing-issues-in-college-sports-williams-nescac-schools-to-play-in-january-without/article_2c3999a2-6407-11ec-a420-efd84faf0dcf.html

The COVID-19 Omicron variant has been impacting both college and professional sports. The National Hockey League has shut down until after Christmas. NBA teams have been forced to miss games and adjust rules to sign players on an emergency basis.

But it is in college sports, primarily college basketball, where the disruption has been felt strongest.

More than 50 college basketball teams have gone on pause in the last week to 10 days. The Omicron pause impacted the University of Massachusetts, losing its Wednesday game with NJIT because of COVID issues at the New Jersey school. UMass isn’t scheduled to play again until hosting Saint Louis on D…….

The COVID-19 Omicron variant has been impacting both college and professional sports. The National Hockey League has shut down until after Christmas. NBA teams have been forced to miss games and adjust rules to sign players on an emergency basis.

But it is in college sports, primarily college basketball, where the disruption has been felt strongest.

More than 50 college basketball teams have gone on pause in the last week to 10 days. The Omicron pause impacted the University of Massachusetts, losing its Wednesday game with NJIT because of COVID issues at the New Jersey school. UMass isn’t scheduled to play again until hosting Saint Louis on D…….

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