NEW BRITAIN â€“ The UConn womenâ€™s basketball team isnâ€™t the only Connecticut squad waiting out a pause in team activities due to a positive covid-19 test within the program.
The Central Connecticut State University womenâ€™s basketball team is currently shut down from in-person team activities due to a Tier 1 personnel testing positive, which has eliminated the Blue Devilsâ€™ originally scheduled non-conference games to start the season. The program is now searching for alternatives for when the team is able to once again resume play.
â€śWe had to postpone two of our non-conference games,â€ť interim head coach Kerri Reaves said. â€śBut we're still hoping to schedule some non-conference games before we open up at St. Francis.â€ť
Currently, CCSUâ€™s 2020-21 schedule has its season opener on the road against St. Francis Brooklyn on Dec. 14, which would be the beginning of NEC play. But the Blue Devils hope their season can begin before that, and are preparing in any way they can while unable to be on the practice floor together.
â€śThe team has a great mental outlook on it,â€ť Reaves said. â€śThey're still finding time to work out and do ball handling exercises within the parameters of where they are right now. We were prepared...and I think we're just going with the flow like everyone else has to do at this point in time.â€ť
Tier 1 personnel, as described by the NCAA, can include â€śstudent-athletes and essential basketball personnel whose job function requires direct access to players on a regular basis, specifically close contact (six feet or less) for 15 minutes or more.â€ť Tier 1 personnel are considered those within a programâ€™s â€śinner bubble,â€ť or people who cannot physically distance from each other, such as trainers and equipment staff. Per NCAA recommendations, any team that has a Tier 1 individual test positive for covid-19 should â€śconsider quarantining the entire team, including coaching staff and other essential personnel who are part of Tier 1, for 14 days, provided determinations around who must be quarantined are ultimately the jurisdiction of applicable public health officials.â€ť
That has left CCSU in a familiar spot, as the team was forced to communicate virtually when the coronavirus first hit Connecticut and the rest of the country back in March, which resulted in the cancellation of March Madness.
â€śWe approach it the way we did back in March and April when we were all sent home,â€ť Reaves said. â€śWe do a lot of Zoom meetings, we meet at least three to four times a week to discuss team concepts and whatever else to stay team oriented. There's that anticipation that us getting back together is right around the corner.â€ť
Players have been sent workouts by the coaching staff, and many had already brought their own workout equipment in anticipation that a shutdown could happen. It was never desired, but now that CCSU is in the midst of a temporary shutdown, the team is trying to make the most of it.
â€śI think it's something that I can't say we anticipated to happen, but we were prepared for something like this to happen at some point during the season,â€ť Reaves said. â€śWe see it across the landscape of every sportâ€¦ these things are going to happen over the course of a season. So the team has been prepared for it.â€ť