UMass athletics will resume Monday with no home games until mid-March

Staff Writer
Published: 2/19/2021 2:24:30 PM

UMass athletics will resume activities after the university changes its operational posture back to “elevated” beginning Monday, chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy announced in an email to students Friday.

That means the school’s athletic teams can practice and compete, but will remain in their assigned social bubbles. UMass won’t be able to host any home events until at least mid-March. The programs’ schedules are already in flux after a two-week pause in activities and winter conference tournaments fast approaching.

Both Atlantic-10 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be hosted in Richmond, Va., but the Hockey East tournament is scheduled to be at campus sites. UMass is currently the third seed and in line to host a quarterfinal.

There are two home events scheduled for next week that will be postponed or canceled: women’s basketball vs. VCU and field hockey against New Hampshire on Friday.

The school originally moved to “high risk” on Feb. 7, sequestering all on campus students to their dorms and apartments and pausing all athletics activities. The measures “moderated the initial surge” of COVID-19 cases that came with students returning to campus for the spring semester, Subbaswamy wrote in the email.

The men’s basketball team will now travel to Richmond on Tuesday then visit Saint Louis on Feb 28, replacing a Wednesday game against Saint Joseph’s and a March 3 home game against Richmond. 

ATLANTIC 10 TOURNAMENT CHANGES – The Atlantic 10 announced Thursday that it will swap the dates for its men’s and women’s basketball championships, and clarified how those tournaments will be seeded.

Most of the men’s tournament, co-hosted by Richmond and VCU, has been moved a week up to March 3-6. Its championship game will still take place March 14, but the final will now be played at Dayton instead of Richmond.

The league said that starting the men’s tournament earlier allowed for more flexibility to reschedule games in case of COVID-19 interruptions.

That pushed the women’s championships back a week to March 10-14, still at VCU. It aligns with the later start of the NCAA Women’s Tournament, which is scheduled to begin March 21 compared to a March 18 tip for the men’s event.

Flipping the dates “allowed the A-10 to reschedule a series of key matchups during the final two weeks of the regular season,” according to a release. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the Atlantic 10 to be creative in scheduling and rescheduling throughout the regular season,” A-10 commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade said in a release “Altering our championship dates provides additional time for our student-athletes, coaches, support staff and institutions to adjust to additional COVID-19 protocols in preparation for the A-10 championships and postseason play.”

Teams that have eclipsed 60 percent of the median number of conference games played will be seeded by conference winning percentage. Those below 60 percent will be seeded by the NCAA’s NET ranking relative to all A-10 teams, and those teams also wouldn’t be eligible for the regular season title.

The current men’s mean is 11 (60 percent is 6.6) with 12 days remaining in the regular season, and the women’s is 12 (threshold is 7.2) with 19 days until the tournament begins. UMass has played eight men’s games and 10 women’s games. The Minutemen are currently tied for second in the A-10 with a .750 winning percentage, while the Minutewomen are at .600, good for seventh.

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