KU Athletics announced early Friday afternoon that the Jayhawks have withdrawn from the Big 12 Tournament due to a positive Covid test for one of the players who participated in Thursday night’s game against Oklahoma.
The release from KU:
Due to a positive COVID-19 test this morning within the Kansas men’s basketball team, the Jayhawks have withdrawn from the 2021 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship.
Kansas will remain in Kansas City in preparation for the NCAA Tournament following the health and safety protocols set by Kansas Team Health. The team will continue to be tested daily per NCAA guidelines.
“Obviously we are disappointed and our players are disappointed that they can’t continue to compete for the Big 12 championship,” head coach Bill Self said. “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 setup for us, 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.”
Kansas is currently planning on participating in the NCAA Tournament in Indiana, which is slated to begin on Friday, March 19.
Per NCAA Covid protocols, all travel party participants will have to have documented seven consecutive negative Covid tests prior to arrival in Indianapolis. Participants include: athletes, coaches, trainers, physical therapists, medical staff, equipment staff, and officials. Everyone will also be tested daily once they arrive in Indianapolis and will be fitted with contract tracing devices a la the NFL this past season.
NCAA Covid protocols obviously put Kansas in an extremely precarious timeline with regards to actually participating in the tournament - at this point, we just have to wait and see. Kansas is not the only team affected by Covid protocols - Virginia is currently going through the exact same scenario as Kansas.
USA Today has an interesting read for some more information on how the NCAA will handle Covid issues for teams in the days between Selection Sunday and the beginning of the Tournament. The most interesting part for me - as long as a team has five eligible players, they will be allowed to compete in the Tournament.