Friday, September 29, 2023

COVID-19 and W&M basketball: Here’s what the season might look like

Tribe basketball is going to look a little different this year. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Tribe Athletics)
Tribe basketball is going to look a little different this year. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Tribe Athletics)

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Tribe basketball fans can expect the season to look a little different starting with the competition.

William & Mary Tribe Athletics shared both the men’s and women’s basketball non-conference schedules, which shows a majority of the games played within the state, limiting the teams travel plans and playing some of the same teams twice.

While all of the women’s basketball games are against Virginia colleges & universities, a majority of the men’s teams will play in Virginia with a few games played in North Carolina and Connecticut.

This news comes a little less than a month after the Athletics Department announced the Colonial Athletic Association basketball schedule for both teams. The first CAA games start in January against Hofstra University in New York and other competitors in different states including Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina and Boston.

Screenshot of the Tribe mens' and womens' CAA basketball team schedule. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of the Tribe Athletics)
Screenshot of the Tribe men’s and women’s CAA basketball team schedule. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of the Tribe Athletics)

So what kind of precautions does W&M plan on doing to keep their players and coaches safe from getting COVID-19?

Kris Sears, director of media relations for Tribe Athletics, wrote in an email W&M’s top priority is the “health and safety” of the students and the department has followed the university’s guidelines as well as local and state guidelines.

“W&M will follow NCAA and CAA protocols on COVID-19, including testing three times per week,” he wrote, linking to the NCAA health guidelines for basketball.

Sears noted the testing is required by the two organizations on the weeks prior to competition and will cost approximately $4,300 per week of testing per team.

He added “some” of the testing costs will be “subsidized” by the CAA.

When asked if student-athletes or coaching staff were required to sign a non-liability clause, releasing W&M from liability should they contract the coronavirus, Sears said no.

“All student-athletes have the ability to opt out of competing this year if they choose with scholarships honored,” he wrote in an email. “The NCAA Division I Council has also put forward that no fall or winter student-athletes will use a season of eligibility during 2020-21.”

But whether or not Tribe fans can attend the home games is yet to be determined.

“W&M has not made a determination regarding attendance at home basketball games,” according to the Tribe Athletics’ news release. “A decision is coming soon and will be based on state and local guidelines.”

At this time, Virginia has indoor gathering limits on sports venues because of the coronavirus.

“Occupancy cannot not exceed 50% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy, if applicable, or 1000 patrons,” according to Gov. Ralph Northam’s Forward Virginia Phase 3 Guidelines. 

It’s unclear when W&M Athletics Department will announce their decision about home game fan attendance.


Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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