No. 10 seed VCU’s sudden departure from the 2021 NCAA Tournament stemmed from three players testing positive for COVID-19 in a 48-hour period, sources told CBS Sports. It is the first time since last summer that VCU had any players test positive for COVID-19, a source said, and it resulted in a no-contest being called in its scheduled game against No. 7 seed Oregon ahead of Saturday night’s tipoff.
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.
“I’m shocked St. Bonaventure doesn’t have any positive cases,” one source said.
No. 9 seed St. Bonaventure played Saturday, falling 76-61 to No. 8 seed LSU in the first round.
College basketball official Roger Ayers worked the Atlantic 10 Tournament title game between St. Bonaventure and VCU. He subsequently tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Indianapolis for the NCAA Tournament. Ayers is currently battling the coronavirus and told CBS Sports he has struggled all week.
“The hotel was packed,” a source told CBS Sports. “They had some sort of other tournament there. People not adhering to protocols, walking through the hotel and lobby without masks. There were people there that weren’t from the A-10. The NCAA can control who’s there, who’s in the buildings, in the hotels, in the convention center. You have to have a credentials that have your picture on it that you wear around your neck everywhere you go. Everyone has to wear masks, four people to an elevators, no congregating in the lobbies. The NCAA has complete control of what’s going on.”
This was not entirely the case at the Dayton Marriott.
“There was some [other] event there,” the source added. “There were kids, parents and people with differences of opinion [about COVID-19] and the hotel staff — I witnessed the ladies at the check-in yelling to people walking through the lobby about putting their masks on.”
The event was the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s state basketball tournament.
When reached for a statement about the matter at the A-10 Tournament title game, league spokesperson Drew Dickerson shared the following statement with CBS Sports: “A-10 teams were all in the same hotel. The teams all had dedicated floors separate from each other and separate from the public. The officials did as well. There was no mingling with teams; teams had dedicated meeting rooms that were separate from everyone else and separate from each other.”
VCU athletic director Ed McLaughlin provided the following statement to CBS Sports: “We stayed on our own floor, and away from other people while we were in the hotel. In addition, our team meeting space was in a separate wing of the building, closed to the general public. We do not blame anybody or any situation for what’s happened. We followed all Atlantic 10 Conference protocols, which we believe were appropriate.”
VCU’s coaching staff met with the players Saturday afternoon on their dedicated hotel floor ahead of their scheduled game against Oregon. The three players who have tested positive were not allowed to be in attendance. VCU coach Mike Rhoades told CBS Sports the team is flying home Saturday night, their plane scheduled to depart at midnight. All who have tested positive will not be on the flight; the NCAA has arranged a ride back via charter bus with the team trainer.
Published: 2021-03-21 02:56:27
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