The Seattle University men’s basketball team has two games remaining in its regular season.
Neither will be played.
Tuesday evening, Chicago State University announced its men’s basketball team will not travel to its final two Western Athletic Conference games — at Seattle U on Thursday and Utah Valley on Saturday — due to concerns related to the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Chicago State’s women’s basketball program also has cancelled home games against Seattle U and Utah Valley on the same days.
The cancellations are believed to be the first by a major sport in the United States due to the virus.
The school said in a statement that it was operating with the “health and well-being of the campus community in mind,” according to The Associated Press.
“Chicago State athletics views our decision as a reaffirmation of our commitment to the well-being, health and safety of our student-athletes,” Chicago State athletic director Elliott Charles said in the statement.
Wednesday, the WAC added in a release that the University of Missouri-Kansas City also has decided not to travel for a men’s basketball game at Seattle U on Saturday. UMKC will be home against Seattle U’s women’s team Saturday as scheduled.
“We respect Chicago State and Kansas City’s decisions and understand their concerns,” Seattle University said in a prepared statement. “We share a commitment to ensuring the health and safety of our communities, fans and all who attend university-sponsored events. Seattle University is actively monitoring and responding to this rapidly evolving situation and continuing to follow the guidance of public health agencies and make decisions based on the most up-to-date information available.
“There has been no recommendation to suspend campus operations, including athletic contests, or restrict travel in the United States at this time.”
As of 11:25 a.m. on Wednesday, 28 people in the state of Washington have been diagnosed and 10 have died from COVID-19, according to state health officials.
Seattle U’s men’s basketball team currently is 14-15 overall and 7-7 in WAC play, while the women are 12-15 overall and 6-8 in the WAC. The cancelled games officially will be recorded as “no-contest,” per NCAA guidelines. Both Seattle U’s men’s and women’s teams are scheduled to begin WAC tournament play next week at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
“While disappointed that the situation has evolved as it has, I fully respect the right of any member institution to determine what it believes to in the best interest of its student-athletes,” WAC commissioner Jeff Hurd said in a statement. “From a conference standpoint, the necessary adjustments will be made according to NCAA policy in order to bracket the conference tournament scheduled for March 11-14 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.”