The Washington State men’s and women’s basketball teams were set to depart for Pac-12 road games this weekend.
Neither team will get to play.
The Washington State men’s Pac-12 road opener at Colorado has been postponed because of recent COVID-19 “developments” within the Cougars’ basketball program, the school announced in a statement Friday night.
That announcement came a few hours after WSU announced that the women’s team, which was to play at Cal on Sunday and at Stanford on Tuesday, were postponing both games.
The Cougars (3-0, 1-0 Pac-12) and Buffaloes (3-0, 0-0) were scheduled to tip off at 1 p.m. at the CU Event Center.
WSU’s official statement regarding the men’s game read in full: “Due to recent developments in Washington State’s COVID-19 protocol, the Cougar men’s basketball game at Colorado, scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 5, has been postponed. The Pac-12 Conference will work with both programs to attempt to find a mutually agreeable date to reschedule the contest.”
The school isn’t releasing any further details at this point and it’s unknown if WSU basketball players tested positive for COVID-19 or came in contact with someone who did. The former requires a 10-day isolation period while the latter requires 14 days in quarantine.
Given those parameters, it’s possible the program’s COVID-19 developments may also affect upcoming games against Idaho (Dec. 9), Portland State (Dec. 13) and Montana State (Dec. 18).
Regarding the women’s games, the school said: “The decision was made under the Pac-12’s basketball policy as Washington State does not have the minimum number of scholarship student-athletes (7) available for the games due to COVID-19 protocol and associated contact tracing.”
The school also said it would work with the Pac-12 to reschedule the women’s games. The game against Cal was the season opener. The next game they have scheduled is against Washington on Dec. 11.
The Buffalo men recently overcame their own COVID-19 outbreak. Colorado suspended operations temporarily and postponed its Pac-12 opener against Arizona, but men’s coach Kyle Smith told reporters Wednesday after WSU’s 59-55 win over Colorado he’d been in communication with Buffs coach Tad Boyle and the game was still on track to be played.
“I heard from Tad everything’s a go,” Smith said. “It looks like they tested and it looks like no problem, the game will be played.”
On Nov. 18, Smith announced he’d tested positive for COVID-19, exactly a week before the season opener against Texas Southern. The school initially announced Smith would miss the Texas Southern game, but it was later determined he could coach the team because he showed symptoms before his positive test.
Two WSU football games, against Stanford and Washington, were recently canceled because of COVID-19 issues that propped up for the Cougars. At least nine football players were in COVID-19 protocol before the scheduled game at Stanford, but athletic director Pat Chun said Thursday night that number would be down to five by Friday and fewer than five by the time WSU kicks off at USC on Sunday.