ETTRICK, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia State’s men’s and women’s basketball teams are opting out of the 2020-2021 season, according to a school release. The athletic department cites the continuous rise in COVID-19 cases as a main reason for the decision.
“It’s extremely tough because we’re anticipating the season,” said Trojans’ head men’s basketball coach Lonnie Blow in a statement. “We understand the severity of the pandemic, so the safety of our guys comes first.”
“It is not a safe situation for our student-athletes and staff to be put in harm’s way,” women’s head coach James Hill added. “The uncertainty and widespread of COVID-19, along with the high-risk of conditioning injury, makes opting out the right decision.”
The teams were set to return to campus on Tuesday to undergo coronavirus testing and attend sports medicine education sessions before returning to the court for practice. CIAA teams were slated to play a modified 16 game league schedule.
The Virginia State men finished last season 19-9, 12-3 in CIAA play, and fell in the first round of the conference tournament. The Trojans were slated to play in the Atlantic Regional before the NCAA Tournament was canceled due to COVID-19. VSU’s women finished the campaign 10-20, 4-11 in CIAA play.
NBC12 reached out to Virginia Union on Tuesday as well. An athletic department spokesperson says that as of now the Panthers plan to participate in basketball season.
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