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No. 7 Houston latest to stop activity due to COVID-19 outbreak, Virginia-Michigan State game off

Ryan Young
·Writer
·3 min read
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No. 7 Houston paused all basketball activities indefinitely on Tuesday after a COVID-19 outbreak within the program, the school announced.

The decision came after new positive tests appeared within the program on Monday, adding to issues from last week. It’s unclear how many in the program tested positive on Monday, but coach Kelvin Sampson said that 10 people — players, coaches and staff — have tested positive for the coronavirus since summer.

It’s unclear when the team will resume activity, though they are set to undergo a new round of testing on Wednesday. The Cougars’ upcoming games against Sam Houston State and Rice have been postponed, though Kelvin said he expects they’ll be canceled.

"These are challenging times, but the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans will always remain our main priority." athletic director Chris Pezman said. "As we pause, I encourage all fans to remember to wear masks and socially distance at all times in your daily lives. Together, we will get through this."

Kelvin and his son, assistant coach Kellen Sampson, missed their game on Saturday against South Carolina after Kellen tested positive. Kelvin has since tested negative, but Kellen is in isolation.

The Cougars have gotten out to a perfect 4-0 start, including an 11-point win against No. 17 Texas Tech last month. Their No. 7 ranking is the highest the program has seen since the 1983-84 season.

"These are uncharted waters for everybody," Kelvin said, via the Houston Chronicle. "I don't think any of us have a playbook. When I woke up this morning, you’re not quite sure what to do."

Houston latest program dealing with COVID-19

Houston is just the latest team to deal with a coronavirus outbreak this season.

Several prominent coaches across the sport have already battled it themselves — including Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim and Baylor’s Scott Drew. No. 1 Gonzaga shut down on Sunday due to an outbreak, and Louisville later followed suit. More than 50 men’s games have been postponed or canceled since the season started, too.

There have been more than 15.1 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Tuesday afternoon, according to The New York Times. The country is averaging an all-time high 201,000 new cases a day, too, and more than 2,200 deaths a day.

“These kids are away [from their families] and they’re out and they’re laying it on the line to entertain people. Something just doesn’t feel right about it right now,” Pittsburgh coach Jeff Capel said Monday. “The numbers were what they were back in March. I look at it every day, man. It seems like every day it’s getting worse. I don’t know why you cancel it in March, but you say it’s OK to do it right now. But what do I know?”

Virginia-Michigan State postponed

No. 18 Virginia’s matchup with No. 4 Michigan State on Wednesday was postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak within the Cavaliers’ program.

The school announced the news late on Tuesday night. It’s unclear when the game — which is part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge — will be made up. Virginia’s game on Sunday against William & Mary is now in question, too.

Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson
Houston has shut down all basketball activities due to positive coronavirus tests and contact tracing. (AP/Jeff Roberson)

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