Friday, March 12, 2021

Jayhawks withdraw from Big 12 tournament because of positive COVID-19 test

Kansas players leave the court following their loss to Baylor at the Ferrell Center after an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, in Waco, Texas. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune Herald via AP) )

Kansas players leave the court following their loss to Baylor at the Ferrell Center after an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, in Waco, Texas. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune Herald via AP) )


A positive COVID-19 test within the University of Kansas men’s basketball program on Friday morning forced the Jayhawks to withdraw from the remainder of the Big 12 tournament.

Kansas, seeded second in the tournament and ranked No. 11 in the Associated Press poll, was slated to face No. 3 seed and 13th-ranked Texas at 8:30 p.m. Friday night at T-Mobile Center in the Big 12 semifinals.

A news release from KU just before 1 p.m. Friday said the Jayhawks would remain in Kansas City, Mo., in preparation for next week’s NCAA Tournament and would test regularly and practice however possible in the days leading up to their departure for Indianapolis.

“Obviously we are disappointed and our players are disappointed that they can’t continue to compete for the Big 12 championship,” KU coach Bill Self said in the release. “While we have been fortunate to avoid this throughout the season, there are daily risks with this virus that everybody participating is trying to avoid. We have followed the daily testing and additional protocols that have been set up for us, (but) unfortunately we caught a bad break at the wrong time. I look forward to preparing my team in probably a unique way for next week’s NCAA Tournament.”

The Big 12 Conference also confirmed KU's withdrawal, saying in a release that "the cancellation follows a positive test, subsequent quarantining, and contact tracing within the Kansas men’s basketball program."

Neither KU nor the Big 12 released the name of the player who tested positive.

As a result of the cancellation of what would have been KU's third matchup with the Longhorns this season, Texas will advance to the Big 12 title game on Saturday, where it will meet the winner of tonight's other Big 12 semifinal between No. 2 Baylor and No. 12 Oklahoma State.

KU's latest brush with COVID-19 comes on the heels of Thursday's 69-62 victory over No. 25 Oklahoma, which Kansas played shorthanded after junior forward David McCormack and sophomore guard Tristan Enaruna were ruled out for the Big 12 tournament because of COVID-19 protocols. A spokesman for Oklahoma's basketball program told the Journal-World on Friday afternoon that KU's positive test had not negatively impacted the Sooners and that OU would continue to test daily in accordance with NCAA Tournament guidelines.

Self said after Thursday's victory that McCormack and Enaruna stayed back in Lawrence to watch Thursday's game. The news that those players had entered COVID-19 protocol was announced on Tuesday, and it was the first time this season that Kansas had dealt with COVID-19-related problems in its own program.

Earlier this season, KU's nonconference game against Tarleton State was canceled because of a COVID-19 issue with that program, and KU's home game against Iowa State in mid-January also was rescheduled because of COVID-19 issues with the Cyclones.

The Jayhawks were the last team in the Big 12 to encounter their own COVID-19 issues. The virus forced cancellations and rescheduled games for other programs all the way to the final week of the regular season.

Now, KU's focus shifts to becoming eligible to play in the NCAA Tournament, which begins next Thursday with the First Four games in Indiana. KU, a projected 3 or 4 seed, would not play in that round but would be scheduled to play in the first round next Friday or Saturday.

The NCAA has said that teams will need to produce seven consecutive negative tests of all Tier 1 personnel (student-athletes, coaches, athletic trainers, physical therapists, medical staff, equipment staff, and officials) before even being allowed to arrive in Indianapolis. Team personnel also will be tested upon arrival in Indianapolis and throughout the tournament.

In a phone call on Friday afternoon, Self told the Journal-World that the team was confident it still would travel to Indianapolis for the NCAA Tournament next week but was also disappointed that its run in the Big 12 tournament ended prematurely.

"The endgame hasn't been affected this year," Self said. "But the short-term deal, of course, it doesn't feel very good."

KU isn't alone among major programs in having to withdraw from a conference tournament because of COVID-19. Duke and Virginia have withdrawn from the ACC Tournament after positive COVID-19 tests within those programs.


Steven Haag 1 year, 6 months ago

As bad as the positive test is....overall it’s a good thing. We couldn’t really improve or hurt our seeding for the tournament. Let’s get the young men some rest and get ready to give 100% next week

Bryce Landon 1 year, 6 months ago

The only other good thing about this is that it spares us from a 10-loss season. The most we can do now is lose a 9th game in the NCAA Tournament - assuming we'll even be allowed to play.

Glen Miller 1 year, 6 months ago

This is laughable......... there won't be any teams left by next weekend to even make it a competitive tournament. COVID is a real thing, I get it..... but what a joke this has all become. Panic and hysteria to go along with wearing these dumb ass masks that really don't do anything. Sit the guy who has it and let the rest of em play.

Bryce Landon 1 year, 6 months ago

I know, right? The only people who need to be quarantined are those who are actually sick. Quarantining those who are healthy has nothing to do with science and everything to do with conditioning people to accept totalitarian control over their everyday lives.

Shannon Gustafson 1 year, 6 months ago

WTF are you talking about? Did you forget that asymptomatic people can still pass it on to their families, friends, etc.? Being "sick" has NOTHING to do with how it should be handled. The fact that you're still confused by this after a year blows my mind.

You quarantine those who test positive but have no symptoms because they are still contagious. So you're protecting others/preventing it spreading to the whole team by quarantining them.

You quarantine the rest of the team who was exposed to the person who tested positive because if they got Covid from that person, it takes anywhere from 3-7 days for symptoms or positive tests to show that they got it. If they got it, they are contagious for possibly 3-4 days before they know they got it. You don't want them coming in contact with tons of other people in those 3-4 days they are contagious and don't know it so you quarantine them as well.

The only way it's possible for you to not understand this after having a YEAR to figure it out is because you're purposely avoiding these facts because 1) they don't align with your beliefs or 2) you've deemed science "fake news" so you haven't encountered Covid facts in a year for fear of reading something science rather than faith based.

RJ King 1 year, 6 months ago

Masks work in general. Not so much in a basketball arena when they are worn around the chin by most. Even with vaccines, the odds of ending this are better with masks, rather than without.

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 6 months ago

wonderful... I really felt like a win was in the works tonight too.

hopefully, the team gets the all-clear for the NCAA tourney. It would be so sad for the guys to miss a second straight post-season due to Covid.

Dale Rogers 1 year, 6 months ago

I'm glad they are taking the precautions. That's important. On the negative side, we had closed to within 5 wins of tying Kentucky for the most total wins in history. Since Kentucky is out of their tournament I was looking forward to two more wins this weekend bringing down that differential to three games, with the possibility of getting the tie, or even the lead, during the NCAA Tournament. Oh, well, their health is more important.

Gary McCullough 1 year, 6 months ago

Absolutely! The health of the young people associated with the program is important, but even more so is the health of the older staff and coaches. I would be devastated if HCBS were to contract the virus.

Kay Jensen 1 year, 6 months ago

Yeah, we’re not going to be in the tourney...

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 6 months ago

I think that you'll be wrong and here's why... the round of 64 is Friday and Saturday this year, which gives the team 7 days to get everyone cleared for action.

they were able to play all year without having to cancel a game due to covid. I am confident and Self and co will be able to keep these guys isolated enough to have them eligible to play next weekend.

Honestly, despite missing out on a couple potential wins and a chance at a trophy, dropping out of the conference tourney now is a smart move in terms of protecting the teams chances to compete in the big dance.

If they play tonight and tomorrow and they end up having one of the opposing players later test positive then you have one less day to get everyone through the 7 consecutive negative test threshhold to be cleared for action following a close contact.

Dale Rogers 1 year, 6 months ago

Anyone who tests positive has to go 11 days without a positive, per the NCAA, to play in the tournament. Those out due to contact tracing have to go 7 days (I think 7 is right).

As Bill Self said, the problem is we practice without those three guys, then if some or all come back, suddenly we are playing guys who have not practiced together as a team in a long time.

Bill Pitcher 1 year, 6 months ago

Let's invite all P5 teams excluded from the big tourney to Lawrence where they can play in a bubble and quickly attain herd immunity....

David Black 1 year, 6 months ago

I am curious as to why the year& half old post about a tennis player from Russia has been suspended from the team and the story about McBride leaving KU basketball are still posted as side stories on this site? Just curious?

Cory McCart 1 year, 6 months ago

yeah, i've always been curious about that.

new ku AD vows to break the cycle of losing football.


Brett McCabe 1 year, 6 months ago

Glen, the masks are highly effective. For instance, when you have yours on, no one has to look at your stupid face.

Hope that the individual recovers and that the season can continue.

Using the logic of some posters from last year, we should hang a Big 12 tourney banner and go ahead and count the imaginary wins vs Kentucky’s total.

Glen Miller 1 year, 6 months ago

Was that supposed to be a burn.......... did a 6 year old give you that one?

I haven't worn a mask anywhere except where it's required and I have yet to contract the virus. Keep living in terror and do what you do best. Wander the earth brainless and bitter.

Michael Maris 1 year, 6 months ago

Don't worry Glenn, not ALL Jayhawk fans are a card carrying "Guardians of Tolerance" members.

It's TRULY amazing that an individual with an OPPOSING view of another individual is verbally CHASTISED for their personal views. So much for being the Party of Compassion (as they say they are).

Those Jayhawk fans should really be ashamed of themselves.

RJ King 1 year, 6 months ago

Glen, Brett's post was indeed juvenile and unnecessary.

But with all due respect, not wearing a mask is not about whether YOU contract the virus. What mask haters continually fail to acknowledge is that masks serve mainly to protect OTHERS, not the wearer. Unmasked people can have Covid, be asymtomatic, and infect someone else.

I don't live in terror, but I saw my industry (sports television) shut down for the better part of last year, and I will follow whatever guidelines are offered to get my co-workers, friends and family back to full-time employment - not to mention potentially prevent the spread to others.

Shannon Gustafson 1 year, 6 months ago

Congratulations for taking advantage of those who wore a mask around you, compassionately doing something not fun (wearing a mask) in order to protect you while you wander around being selfish and thinking that you not getting it despite not wearing a mask somehow proves you're point that masks are dumb, while simultaneously not even knowing who the mask is protecting.

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 6 months ago

Not to make an issue of the masks but it seems to me that the locations, timing, and magnitude of the outbreaks in the US corresponds largely with the amount of time that most people would be spending indoors in buildings with closed ventilation providing cooling and/or heating.

The first major outbreak of course occuring in the NYC metro in the winter/spring of last year with people still working and traveling and using public transit and with continuing cold weather keeping HVAC systems running to heat buildings.

The next major round of outbreaks occurred in the southern states in the summer. Despite sweeping mask orders and most people being compliant to wear masks in public buildings, I suspect that people spending more time in A/C contributed to the spread.

The third and most severe wave started sweeping the nation in the northern states in the fall with temperatures dropping and then swept across the nation all winter while people were driven indoors for heating and continuing to abide by mask policies.

Now... I believe that the masks are effective and stopping large droplets from spreading directly as a result of sneezing, coughing, talking, etc, but I would suspect that most of the actual spread was due to far smaller particles entrained in HVAC systems spreading throughout buildings and room to room. The size of which would not be removed from air by a cloth facial covering, especially one which doesn't seal on the face the way that a HEPA respirator or even an N95/P95 respirator would.

I think that the most effective thing that we've done with slow the spread of disease has been the social distancing aspect. And I'm not convinced that it really slowed the spread of Covid nearly as much as it slowed the spread of flus and colds, etc.

I think that we all look forward to putting the masks and the social distancing behind us and getting back as much as we can to the pre-covid normal.

Dale Rogers 1 year, 6 months ago

I have a couple of dead friends who might not agree with Glen.

Blake Brown 1 year, 6 months ago

Bummer- was looking forward to kicking some Longhorn hides

Dale Rogers 1 year, 6 months ago

I was looking forward to Texas NOT being able to say they swept us this season.

Dale Rogers 1 year, 6 months ago

I just read in a national article that it is a rotation player for both Kansas and Virginia who tested positive. I don't know whether that article is accurate. The article went on to explain exactly how the NCAA covid rules work as related to the upcoming tournament. I read that on my ipad, then deleted the article and now can't find it with google on my laptop. It was on the Sports app. Anyhow, it's interesting and clarifies the questions I'm seeing in this series of comments. If I can find it again, I'll post back. Bottom line, is we're not out of that tournament. Yet.

I found the article on Yahoo Sports.

Jeff Kallmeyer 1 year, 6 months ago

Why is the team staying in K.C. instead of going back to Lawrence? Sounds pretty costly!

Matt Tait 1 year, 6 months ago

NCAA required this for all tournament-bound teams because of COVID. Trying to limit travel. So KU would've stayed over all week even if they had lost last night, positive COVID test or not.

Dale Rogers 1 year, 6 months ago

I don't know the answer to that but have to wonder if it's just easier to quarantine/isolate by staying there. I imagine the entire travel party has to quarantine, so in Lawrence they'd have to find a place to do so without being around family, etc. In other words, I don't know. I'm just speculating.

Shannon Gustafson 1 year, 6 months ago

I feel like maybe, just maybe, cost isn't the primary concern here.

Following NCAA protocol to remain eligible for the tournament, and avoiding traveling with a couple dozen people who are supposed to be isolating is likely a "slightly" larger concern than the cost of staying in KC.

Tam Bui 1 year, 6 months ago

Hey Glen, you should also stop wearing seatbelts when you drive. I mean, you have yet to die from a car wreck, and it just makes you live in terror.

Bryce Landon 1 year, 6 months ago


Chad Smith 1 year, 6 months ago

The only thing about COVID I will state is this: Please stop using the seatbelt analogy to masks or the spread of COVID. In principal and in logic it is not a comparison. A seatbelt is worn to protect YOURSELF while driving on the road from any potential dangers, be it other drivers or a fallen stick in the road or a deer jumping out. It's so if you get into a crash/accident, you have a better chance of surviving. You wearing a seatbelt does not protect ANYONE ELSE on the road. People in other cars are not more safe because YOU wore a seatbelt. The idea of masks that we've heard all along is that it protects you from receiving droplets and protects someone else from receiving droplets from you, so it's symbiotic in nature. Whether you agree with that sentiment or not is irrelevant in regards to seatbelts. Seatbelts are used for your own personal protection. Nothing more, nothing less.

Tam Bui 1 year, 6 months ago

Chad, if you read Glen's comment, he is clearly using his mask for his own protection. Quote:"I haven't worn a mask anywhere except where it's required and I have yet to contract the virus". So while I agree with you, Glen doesn't wear his mask for the same reason as you or me. And therefore, the seatbelt analogy holds.

Keith Gellar 1 year, 6 months ago

Hmmm...we survive the whole year and get hit w covid now.. right before a game we probably were going to lose. Sounds like a calculated move to me. Why hurt ourselves even more in the tourney.

Well done bill self. I applaud thee.

Tony Bandle 1 year, 6 months ago

Sarcasm or all be the judge. :}

Bob Zielinski 1 year, 6 months ago

If this is one player with one positive test then this could be a non-issue. The tests are not entirely reliable and the next couple of tests of the supposedly positive player could start the trend of negative tests and all will be good. If not, I have faith in the coaches, support staff and players to get this handled for a game on Friday/Saturday.

Dale Rogers 1 year, 6 months ago

If what I read is correct, one player tested positive and two others are out due to contact tracing.

Justin Kruse 1 year, 6 months ago

When it was announced that KU was given permission to add another game to the season, for some reason my first thought was potential COVID exposure. Not sure why, but that's where my mind went. So after today's announcement of someone testing positive on the team I did some research. Maybe my research was faulty but here's what I found...

  1. KTSM Channel 9 announced on February 20 that the UTEP game with FAU was canceled due to positive case of COVID on the team. Game was scheduled for February 21 and 22.

  2. KC Star announces on February 25 the addition of the UTEP game for March 4.

This case of COVID on the KU team could have come from anywhere and it may be totally unrelated, but if UTEP just canceled games with FAU that were to be played on Feb. 21/22 due to COVID, why would KU play UTEP two weeks later?

Like I said, maybe my quick online research was faulty. Can someone look into this?

Tyson Travis 1 year, 6 months ago

I propose a tournament for just the COVID-19 positive teams, you have to play wearing a mask and can't guard any closer than six feet, etc. This is starting to look like the Champion's Classic we always play early in the season, at least 3 of those teams (KU, Kentucky, Duke) are currently sitting, is Mich. State still active? Maybe we should just run a replay on that one. At least HCBS has time to put in some new wrinkles if he can find a free High School court in K.C. since they're going to be staying there.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 6 months ago

Masks give a false sense of security. People who wear masks in public are more likely to be within 6 feet of another and are less likely to wash their hands as frequently. Which are the two items that were originally cited to prevent the spread of the disease. It also explains why places like NY and LA have had outbreaks.

Jeff Kallmeyer 1 year, 6 months ago

Not to mention democrat governors & mayors...

Shannon Gustafson 1 year, 6 months ago

Yes, whether the Governor is red or blue is certainly what the virus uses to figure out who to infect....I forgot Covid was Republican and therefore it only attacks Democrats, thank you for reminding me.

Do you think maybe the population density of these cities and that they are international travel hubs "might" just have a bit more to do with it than the political affiliation of the Governor?

Dale Rogers 1 year, 6 months ago

I'm within easy driving distance of LA. The problem there is population density and too many people ignoring precautions because they think it's all a hoax. They don't seem to connect their behavior as a major contributor to the outbreak.

Robert Howard 1 year, 6 months ago

I wonder if on Selection Sunday they’ll include COVID-19 as an at-large bid. Maybe an 8 or 9 seed. I might pick them to go all the way. ;)

Luke Smith 1 year, 6 months ago

They need to go to a bar tonight and celebrate. Once they are sitting at a table and eating or drinking, the masks come off and Covid goes dormant. It’s a miracle. Don’t mask up, eat up.

Mallory Briggans 1 year, 6 months ago

Jeff Kallmeyer its funny how the states that have republican governors and mayors have covid outbreaks as well......covid knows no political party

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