Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
VCU is out of the men’s NCAA tournament after failing Covid protocol. Oregon advances. The VCU Rams are out of the 2021 men’s NCAA tournament without ever playing a game because of failed Covid-19 protocols ahead of the program’s game with the Oregon Ducks in a 7-10 matchup. The game is being ruled as a no contest, and the Ducks have advanced.
The NCAA said it can’t provide further details because of privacy issues.
Oklahoma and Georgia Tech each had positive tests to players before they started their NCAA tournament runs, but the teams were able to compete because the positive cases were isolated. It appears that there had to be multiple positive tests or widespread contact tracing issues within the VCU program for the team to be ruled out just before tip-off.
The NCAA moved both the men’s and women’s tournaments to a bubble setup this year. It’s a heartbreaking way to end the season for the Rams, who finish the year at 19-7 overall.
VCU reportedly had its first positive test on Wednesday night, and two more positives on Friday, which led to the decision to cancel the game. CBS journalist Matt Norlander reported that the program is wondering if its problems started because of a hotel stay during the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
Internally, VCU is wondering whether the site of the Atlantic 10 Tournament title game is responsible for the program finding itself out of the NCAA Tournament. Sources told CBS Sports that VCU, St. Bonaventure and the entire officiating crew for the event all stayed at the Dayton Marriott — directly across the street from UD Arena, site of the title game in Dayton, Ohio.
Source to @CBSSports: VCU had its first positive surface on Wednesday, then two more positives surfaced Friday night, which prompted Marion County health officials and the NCAA to decide allowing VCU to move forward and play its game vs. Oregon was too risky.— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) March 20, 2021
Source: Kinexon tech that is tracking teams during practices and games was not the reason for removing VCU. Determination by officials was VCU’s situation might “look like it’s spreading.”Timeline on VCU’s positives surfacing:Wednesday eveningFriday eveningSaturday morning— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) March 20, 2021
It’s reportedly the first positive tests for the VCU program since last summer.
Here’s the statement from the NCAA:
“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. 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.”
The tournament had said it would have replacement teams on deck if a team failed to pass protocol, but that was only within the first 48 hours after the bracket was announced. VCU was ruled out just hours before the game was set to tip-off.
We’ll update this story as it develops.