Coronavirus issues force VCU out of NCAA Tournament originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
VCU will not compete in their First Round contest against the seventh-seeded Oregon Ducks due to the NCAA's COVID-19 protocols. Oregon will advance to the Second Round in a no-contest.
The Rams' season concludes with a 19-7 record (10-4 Atlantic 10).
“The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee has declared the VCU-Oregon game scheduled for Saturday night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum a no-contest because of COVID-19 protocols. This decision was made in consultation with the Marion County Public Health Department," the NCAA's Division I Men's Basketball Committee said in a statement.
"As a result, Oregon will advance to the next round of the tournament. The NCAA and the committee regret that VCU’s student-athletes and coaching staff will not be able to play in a tournament in which they earned the right to participate. Because of privacy issues we cannot provide further details.”
Because this determination was made after the NCAA's Tuesday deadline, no team will replace the Rams in the bracket. Four teams were deemed 'replacement teams' in the case that there were coronavirus issues that would prevent a program from fielding a competitive roster.
No teams notified the NCAA that there were present problems.
It was reported by CBS's Matt Norlander that VCU had its first positive test on Wednesday. Two more positive tests popped up Friday night.
According to Dan Gavitt, the NCAA vice president of basketball, teams would be allowed to take the court as long as there were five players available. It is unknown how many players were listed out due to testing and contact tracing.
“We’ve been tested every day for the past three weeks, but within the past 48 hours we’ve received multiple positive tests. We are devastated for our players and coaches. It has been a dream for all of us to play in the NCAA Tournament. We appreciate the care of our doctors and administration this year, and all our efforts and attention will be put into our players at this time,” head coach Mike Rhoades said.
This ends a strong campaign for VCU, proving several pundits wrong along the way. The Rams were picked to finish ninth in the Atlantic 10 but rose above expectations to finish second in the league. On top of their NCAA Tournament at-large bid, VCU was the runner-up in the Atlantic 10. Sophomore Nah'Shon 'Bones' Hyland was named the league's Player of the Year as the A-10's leading scorer.