After a combined seven games postponed due to COVID-19, JMU men’s and women’s basketball are set to resume play this weekend for the first time since before the holiday break. Head coaches Mark Byington and Sean O’Regan addressed the media during Tuesday’s weekly O’Neills Fan and Press Luncheon on Tuesday about both teams’ status dealing with the Omicron variant.
JMU men’s basketball
During the 2020-21 season, the men were hit the hardest with game cancellations — both within the Dukes’ roster and with opponents — and history is beginning to repeat itself.
JMU (9-2) had five straight games postponed over the last two weeks. Two games, Morgan State and University of Pennsylvania, were updated to “canceled” since neither program was able to reschedule those games. The Dukes now turn to conference play, starting with a two-game homestand against Hofstra and Northeastern this weekend. Both foes currently sit in last in the CAA, with neither team earning a conference win so far.
Byington said during the luncheon that the Dukes haven’t had a positive COVID-19 case in the last three days. While it’s good news for JMU, an undisclosed number of players are still in quarantine or participating in the return-to-play protocol.
The head coach said he’s anticipating a limited roster for Saturday’s game against the Pride without giving a specific number. Byington also mentioned that the three true freshmen on the roster — Deven Savage, Andrew McConnell and Shane Feden — will likely redshirt this season.
JMU women’s basketball
Although they haven’t faced as severe scheduling conflicts as the men’s team, the Dukes (4-7) begin conference play this season after coming off a victory against George Mason on Dec. 20.
JMU had two games postponed — Delaware and Drexel — and now the Dukes won’t play either team until Jan. 18 and Feb. 16, respectively. O’Regan said during the luncheon that there’s been one positive case on the team, but he’s still expecting to play Friday.
The head coach said the team is “full go” for the conference opener but still won’t have the 2020-21 CAA Rookie of the Year, sophomore guard Peyton McDaniel. She hasn’t played yet this season due to a long-term injury, and now, O’Regan said, they’re looking toward redshirting McDaniel to retain her eligibility.
Updates to conference protocols
CAA protocols require a minimum of seven active players and at least one coach for a team to participate in a game — a policy updated Dec. 28. Under current protocols, all positive cases still require a 10-day quarantine period rather than the new five-day period being activated in other conferences.
During conference play, if a team must cancel a game due to COVID-19 issues, the game will be considered a forfeit and the opposing team will win. If the game is canceled because both teams were ineligible, it’ll be marked as a tie in conference records. All canceled games won’t have an impact on the teams’ NCAA record.
The Breeze will continue to update this information as it progresses.
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