For the second straight weekend, the UL women’s basketball program won’t be able to play because of COVID-19 in the opponent’s program.
After last weekend’s road series at Little Rock was canceled, UL was scheduled to play at home for the first time in a month against UTA beginning 6 p.m. Friday at the Cajundome.
Coach Garry Brodhead’s Cajuns (2-5, 1-1) now haven’t played since beating Texas State 67-41 on Jan. 2 and aren’t scheduled to play again until a two-game series at Arkansas State on Jan. 22-23.
“I’m definitely concerned,” said Brodhead, who said a potential plan B solution was derailed because of injuries on Texas State’s roster.
And that list of worries is growing.
His own team went through a two-week quarantine at the beginning of the reshuffled regular season.
“At least this time, we can practice,” Brodhead said. “But it’s still not the same as playing in games.
“I’m definitely concerned about this hurting our team’s progress. There’s just so many things about this that’s concerning.”
For one, Brodhead is worried about the makeup process. The general goal is to make up these lost games later on a Monday-Tuesday or a Tuesday-Wednesday after playing a weekend series in that region if possible.
For example, perhaps UL could play at Little Rock on Jan. 25-26 after playing at Arkansas State on Jan. 22-23.
But for programs like UL, which has now had two weekends wiped away, or Georgia State, which has not played a league game yet, how many games in a short period of time will that potentially mean down the road?
And how much will that alter the competitive balance in the league?
“If you have to play six games in nine days, that’s tough,” Brodhead said. “And then if you have to do that again the following week, that’s when you’re really going to be in a bind.
“I’m worried that we’re going to do all of this because of COVID, but then what’s going to end up happening is getting a lot of injuries in the process. Four games in five days is tough. Will their bodies hold up?”
Brodhead said the Sun Belt’s athletic directors will be discussing protocols moving forward this week and some answers could be made before the weekend.
Such issues as perhaps playing one makeup game and not two, or caps on how many games a team can play in a short time period are likely to be on the table in those discussions.
Brodhead also reminds all teams must have at least 12 games to qualify for the NCAA tournament, keeping in mind the Sun Belt tournament only counts as one game and only Division I games count to reach that quota.
“If this gets any worse, that could end up affecting a team,” he said.