Duke and Virginia were forced to withdraw from the men’s Atlantic Coast Conference college basketball tournament on consecutive days and Kansas pulled out of the Big 12 tournament because of positive tests, raising concerns about the protocols for COVID-19 and how they will impact the playing of the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments.
As more teams continue to experience problems with outbreaks, it is becoming clear that the possibility of the pandemic affecting the tournaments remains high. Rules and protocols were issued by the NCAA last month.
The men’s tournament has 68 teams and the women’s has 64.
Some of the key questions ahead of next week’s events:
How are teams cleared to play?
Teams are being required to produce seven consecutive days of negative test results in order to play in Indianapolis and San Antonio, where the men’s and women’s events are being played, respectively. The requirement includes every member of a school’s allotted 34-person travel party. Teams can elect to travel with a significantly smaller group should some members of the party be ruled out by positive tests or contact tracing. Those held back would be required to meet necessary protocols to allow for travel at a later date.
In the cases of Virginia and Kansas, the Cavaliers and Jayhawks will play in the first round either next Friday or Saturday, so there is enough time to meet the negative test requirement. But the window is close. Much will depend on whether other players test positive or…