After a recent increase in COVID-19 cases, the American Athletic Conference revised its withdrawal policy for championship games this season in a statement released on Monday.
Originally, all AAC teams that failed to field a team suffered a forfeit loss instead of a âno contestâ. Now, teams will have the option to reschedule these postponed matches, like last season.
The University of Houston initially suffered a forfeit loss after their game against Cincinnati was postponed due to the number of players available for Houston. AAC athletic directors met on Monday to choose to change the policy and the initial loss per forfeit for the Cougars.
The AAC said in the statement that teams must have a minimum of seven stock players and a coach for a conference match to take place.
âNone of us can control this,â said head coach Isaac Brown. âSometimes it’s just bad luck that you get hit and your key players are gone. I don’t think you need to play a team when you’re not complete. The way you can determine a champion is everyone has to compete against each other and I think that was a great decision from our conference. “
70 men’s college basketball programs have been suspended due to COVID-19 outbreaks, with 54 of those teams currently on hold. Wichita State is set to play Memphis (January 1) and Houston (January 8) in early January, with the two programs recently dealing with COVID issues.
The Shockers announced ahead of the season that all 13 players are vaccinated, with no issues related to COVID-19 this season. Brown said the team had no positive tests after the players returned to Wichita after traveling during the holidays, unlike other teams across the country.
Brown spoke with the team ahead of the Christmas break about taking precautions to avoid a potential outbreak.
“We always talk to them whenever you are in public, wherever you are, in the dorms, eating, going out, be sure to wear your mask because you can still get (COVID),” said Brown. âWe just tell them to keep looking after yourselves. Make sure they are making the right decisions.
âWear your mask no matter where you go. The only time they don’t wear it is in practice. We are starting to wear them a lot more in the cinema room and in the locker room.
WSU currently has limited depth, with Isaac Abidde, Jalen Ricks and Steele Gaston-Chapman in red shirts this season. Craig Porter Jr. (ankle) and Joe Pleasant (hamstring) missed WSU’s final game against Prairie View A&M, giving the Shockers eight healthy stock players.
Porter and Pleasant were limited participants in Sunday practice and Brown said both players were listed as “day to day”.
âNeither is 100%, so hopefully these guys can play in the game,â Brown said. “They practiced (Sunday), but they weren’t at full speed.”
The Shockers open the AAC game on Wednesday as they face East Carolina on the road. The tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. on ESPN +.