Florida pulls out of tournament


Graham Hall, Florida basketball writer
Published 3:56 p.m. ET Nov. 22, 2020 | Updated 7:15 p.m. ET Nov. 22, 2020

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The Florida men’s basketball team has pulled out of the Bubbleville tournament at Mohegan Sun and Casino because of issues related to a positive COVID-19 test and subsequent quarantine of players, the school announced Sunday.

Florida was expecting to depart Tuesday for Uncasville, Connecticut, as one of the 40 teams opening the season with the two-game tournament. Florida’s scheduled opponent, UMass Lowell, also recently suspended its program after two individuals inside the program tested positive Nov. 14 for COVID-19. 

The Gators have paused team activities for one week due to positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing protocols, UF announced in a news release. Florida has had players sit out practices dealing with virus protocol in preseason camp.

Florida was scheduled to play No. 4-ranked Virginia on Friday as well; with the first two contests now canceled, the Gators anticipate opening the season Dec. 2 in Norman, Oklahoma, against the Sooners, but the quarantine situation may also cause that game to be postponed or canceled. 

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The NCAA describes players, coaches or any individual inside the gymnasium daily as a ‘Tier 1’ individual, meaning Florida’s program includes anywhere from 25 to 35 ‘Tier 1’ individuals that may need to quarantine for two weeks.

The NCAA’s COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group recommends a 14-day quarantine after a positive COVID-19 test for any Tier 1 individual. 

“A typical basketball team has 15 players, all of whom typically train on a single basketball court at the same time in an enclosed space,” according to the NCAA medical group. “Generally speaking, it is expected that the total number of Tier 1 individuals within a team would approximate 25-30. If any Tier 1 individual becomes infected, schools should consider 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.”

It’s the latest scheduling shuffle for Florida, which initially had UConn coming to Gainesville for its Dec. 6 home opener. But the Huskies pulled out to play North Carolina State a day earlier in Connecticut. Teams across the country have moved games to make schedules more regional in hopes of minimizing travel and the potential spread of COVID-19.

Florida scrambled to fill the void with Stetson.

There are about 40 college basketball programs on COVID halt three days before the scheduled start of the season.

Florida’s football team had to postpone two games last month because of a COVID-19 outbreak.

The Florida soccer team also had virus-related issues that affected games.

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