ALBANY — Lately, UAlbany men’s basketball head coach Dwayne Killings said it seems like “every time I look at Twitter, there’s another game getting canceled” due to health-and-safety protocols related to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday, it was his club that had to call off a game.
The Great Danes’ non-conference contest that was scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at SEFCU Arena against Bucknell was postponed due to health-and-safety protocols involving UAlbany’s program, the school announced Tuesday afternoon. In an interview with The Daily Gazette, Killings said the Great Danes “have a few guys in COVID protocols,” but the program expects to be able and ready to play its America East Conference opener Sunday at Vermont.
“We’re preparing as if we’re going to play on Sunday,” said Killings, whose team returned to UAlbany’s campus this past weekend after a short holiday break following the team’s Dec. 21 win at Lehigh.
In the America East, it’s been decided that teams must play if they have at least eight players and one coach available. Teams are allowed to play with fewer than eight available players at their own discretion. If a game “is postponed due to an unavoidable and unforeseen conflict,” the schools have 72 hours to agree to a new date to play.
“If institutions are not able to agree to a date within the 72-hour time frame, the conference office, in consultation with the directors of athletics from the involved institutions, will determine the date for the rescheduled contest,” the league’s policy states. “If institutions are not able to agree to another date, then the conference office will make the final decision regarding the competition. If the conference office determines that a make-up contest is not feasible, the contest will be considered a ‘no contest.’”
Throughout the Capital Region, health-and-safety protocols have canceled games and rearranged schedules in numerous sports and at a variety of levels of play in recent weeks. Within the area’s Division I basketball landscape, each team has now been affected at one point or another. The Siena men’s basketball team’s game this week against American was canceled, while the Siena women’s team’s game against Syracuse was called off last week. Meanwhile, the UAlbany women’s basketball team played Tuesday against Division III Union College in a game that was scheduled after the Great Danes had a game against SUNY Canton fall off their schedule earlier this month . . . and, for that game Tuesday, the Great Danes were missing multiple players due to health-and-safety protocols.
Last season, the UAlbany men’s basketball program experienced multiple pauses and only played 16 total games. Killings — an associate head coach last season at Marquette — said “it all the sudden feels a lot like last year” seeing the wave of cancellations across the sport’s landscape.
“You could feel it coming,” Killings said.
UAlbany’s record stands at 4-8. Killings said he’d already discussed rescheduling the Great Danes’ game against Bucknell with Bison head coach Nathan Davis, and that both coaches agreed “to see if something makes sense” as the season develops.
“We want to leave it open as a possibility,” Killings said.