Saturday’s first-round game between No.7 Oregon and No. 10 VCU has been declared a no-contest because of COVID-19 protocols within VCU’s program, the NCAA announced.
Oregon automatically advances to the second round.
The Rams had received multiple positive tests within the past 48 hours, according to VCU head coach Mike Rhoades.
“The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee has declared the VCU-Oregon game scheduled for Saturday night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum a no-contest because of COVID-19 protocols,” the NCAA’s statement read. “This decision was made in consultation with the Marion County Public Health Department.
“As a result, Oregon will advance to the next round of the tournament. The NCAA and the committee regret that VCU’s student-athletes and coaching staff will not be able to play in a tournament in which they earned the right to participate. Because of privacy issues we cannot provide further details.”
This is the first NCAA tournament game canceled or declared a no-contest due to COVID-19 issues. The NCAA made Tuesday night its deadline for replacement teams to enter the field; no teams had issues at that time.
In order to get into the NCAA tournament’s controlled environment in Indianapolis, teams had to show seven consecutive days of negative COVID-19 tests. Once in Indianapolis, teams undergo daily testing.
“We’ve been tested every day for the past three weeks, but within the past 48 hours we’ve received multiple positive tests,” Rhoades said in a statement. “We are devastated for our players and coaches. It has been a dream for all of us to play in the NCAA Tournament. We appreciate the care of our doctors and administration this year, and all our efforts and attention will be put into our players at this time.”
NCAA senior VP of basketball Dan Gavitt said prior to the NCAA tournament that a team can continue playing in the tournament as long as it has five “eligible and healthy” players. The NCAA tournament’s contact tracing and other COVID-19 protocols were expected to prevent a team needing to withdraw due to one or two positive tests.
“With the utmost disappointment, our men’s basketball program will head home from the NCAA Tournament,” VCU vice president and director of athletics Ed McLaughlin said in a statement. “We are heartbroken for our student-athletes, coaches, campus community and fans. Our team earned the opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament. The members of our program did an excellent job following COVID-19 protocols all year, including since we arrived in Indianapolis, so ending our season in this manner hurts even more.”
Oregon will play the winner of No. 2 Iowa vs. No. 15 Grand Canyon.