Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams at Northwestern University have canceled games this week, as the growing coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the sports world.
COVID-19 is blamed for blocking the Dec. 31 women’s game at Minnesota.
The Wildcats’ Twitter feed says “multiple members of the Northwestern women’s basketball team are still subject to COVID-19 protocols,” so the decision was made to call off the New Year’s Eve game in the interest of the “health and safety of student-athletes, fans and staff.”
NU is not saying how many women’s team members have COVID. It is possible for some team members to be quarantined due to exposure to the virus, without being sick themselves. If that’s the case, there still might not be enough players to field a full team, even if the actual number of COVID cases is low.
There will be an effort to reschedule this game, but not a Dec. 21 contest vs. Oregon, which was called off for the same COVID-protocol-related reasons.
As for the men’s team, the announcement there is a bit vague, saying only that the scheduled Thursday game against Prairie View A&M has been canceled “by mutual agreement between the two programs,” and will not be rescheduled.
Prairie View’s sports website sheds a bit more light on the situation, noting that Prairie View’s game against Valparaiso on Tuesday “has been canceled due to COVID-19 related issues within the Valparaiso program,” but that the Northwestern game has been “canceled for uncertain reasons.”
So while it seems reasonable that COVID-19 is a slam dunk for why NU-Prairie View will not be played, it’s still unclear if there is an outbreak on either team, if Prairie View simply chose to return home to Texas after the Valpo game in nearby Indiana was called off, or if something else “uncertain” was the reason for a “mutual agreement between the two programs.”
NU’s men’s game against DePaul was called off earlier this month due to COVID-19 on the Blue Demons squad. That game will not be rescheduled either.