Clarity emerges on when Wichita State basketball team will return from COVID-19 pause

Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle
·2 min read

The Wichita State men’s basketball team is on track to play in next Wednesday’s game against Central Florida at Koch Arena, a team spokesman confirmed to The Eagle.

The Shockers have been on pause from basketball activities since Monday due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, which led to WSU’s American Athletic Conference road games at Temple and at SMU being postponed this week.

Per the conference guidelines, WSU was able to postpone the games without penalty because health and safety protocols left the team under the minimum of seven available scholarship players. Through three weeks of January, WSU (9-7, 0-4 AAC) already has three conference games, including a road trip to East Carolina from earlier this season, in limbo after they were postponed due to COVID-19 issues. Teams have the option to reschedule the games, although there is no conference mandate requiring them to do so.

It is unclear how many of WSU’s 10 available scholarship players are currently in health and safety protocols, but sources with knowledge of the situation told The Eagle that WSU could return to practice as early as Sunday.

Since returning from Christmas break, COVID-19 issues have begun to pile up for WSU. Starters Dexter Dennis and Morris Udeze missed the January 12 game against Tulane, due to health and safety protocols, then starting point guard Craig Porter and assistant coach Billy Kennedy missed last Sunday’s game against Cincinnati for the same reason.

WSU head coach Isaac Brown has confirmed the entire team was vaccinated before the season, but it’s unclear if all — or any — have received their booster shot, which is considered “full vaccination status” by the NCAA’s COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group.

For players who tested positive and those not “fully” vaccinated deemed a close contact, they must quarantine for five days with isolation ending after five days if there are no symptoms.

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