MANHATTAN, Kan. — At Kansas State, head basketball coach Bruce Weber and several other coaches and players tested positive for COVID-19. The team will have two coaches (an assistant and a graduate assistant) and seven players available for their Saturday road game vs. West Virginia.
Weber is not pleased with the circumstances that his team will have to play with.
“I don’t think it’s right, I think it’s unfair. I’ve expressed that to the league office last year. I did this year to our administration,” Weber said.
His main frustration was that West Virginia had players go in COVID-19 protocol when they lost to Texas on Jan. 1 and their next game vs. TCU on Jan. 3 was postponed because of players in protocol.
The Big 12 Conference stated its updated policy in December will allow a “no contest” if a team has less than six scholarship players and one countable coach available for a game. That means neither team would get a win or a loss on their record.
“That’s the rules and you gotta play by the rules. I just hope everybody is playing by the same rules,” Weber said.
While Weber is perturbed by the protocols and not being with his team, he knows they will give the Mountaineers what they can in limited numbers.
Weber said he texts coaches on the bench and other coaches who aren’t at the game when he’s home so they can help with play calls, monitoring minutes and other coaching needs.
“It’s hard to manage a college basketball game at a high level with one coach,” Weber said. “It is what it is and we have to deal with it.”
The Missouri Tiger’s men’s basketball team has had its share of COVID-19 concerns as well.
Head coach Cuonzo Martin tested positive for the virus on Dec. 27 leaving Cornell Mann to coach the team in a loss to Kentucky on Dec. 29.
Once the team returned from that road trip, they were tested and so many players tested positive and ruled out with contract tracing that they had to postpone their Jan. 5 home game vs. Mississippi State. The SEC requires teams to have seven players available to play.
In their upcoming game against 15th-ranked Alabama on Saturday, they will be without three players leaving them with nine available to play.
Martin said the team couldn’t even have full five-on-five scrimmages in practice, but he’s excited to go.
“It’s tough from the standpoint it’s not normal, but it is in our society now,” Martin said on Friday. “It’s hard for me to make an excuse about it, especially if you have enough to play.”
“You like to have all your guys there because that’s how you practice, that’s comfort level with certain guys that you have on your team.”
Kansas State and Mizzou, like all other sports teams, will have to continue to deal with these protocols all season.