It didn’t take long for the coronavirus pandemic to mess with the 2020-21 men’s basketball season for area schools.
The season openers for Stony Brook and Hofstra — both scheduled for Wednesday — were canceled as a result of someone testing positive for COVID-19. Stony Brook was to play at Bryant in the afternoon and Hofstra was slated to play at Monmouth in the evening. They are among approximately two dozen games scheduled for Wednesday that were either postponed or canceled.
Neither Stony Brook nor Hofstra has had a Tier One member — meaning players, coaches or support staff — test positive.
Stony Brook and Bryant decided to cancel because someone scheduled to work the game, likely an official, tested positive. That person had not tested positive at the time he or she worked a weekend scrimmage that included the Seawolves. Stony Brook’s contingent will be tested two more times before its scheduled home game against Fairfield on Saturday.
Monmouth halted the game against Hofstra after one of its Tier One members tested positive. The Hawks also have canceled two other early December games as the program is now paused. The Pride will open its season on Sunday at Rutgers.
"It was out of an abundance of caution and in everyone’s best interest to cancel the game," Stony Brook athletic director Shawn Heilbron said. "There was concern about a potential contact, but that’s all I can say about that. It was [Bryant] who made the decision. We were there, ready to play, and last night it was just determined that it was best to cancel the game."
Heilbron said the program will follow the guidance of its medical staff and the New York State Department of Health as it begins its focus on the Fairfield game. The video of the scrimmage is being reviewed to determine how much contact was made between players and the person who worked that game and subsequently tested positive. A close contact could require a member of the program to quarantine.
According to the CDC, "for COVID-19, a close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes."
Stony Brook’s home women’s game against Bryant on Wednesday was not affected.
Both Stony Brook coach Geno Ford and Hofstra interim coach Mike Farrelly told Newsday this week that they anticipated there could be many interruptions and cancellations in the schedule this season and that they were prepared for the uncertainty involved in playing a season during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement announcing the Stony Brook cancellation, Ford said "it’s going on all over the country. We will stay focused on what we can control and are optimistic and excited to play Saturday against a good Fairfield team."