For the last 18 days, Boston College men’s basketball has gone without a game. After a positive COVID-19 test within the team on Jan. 20, contact tracing protocols put a temporary halt to the Eagles’ season. Four games—Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, Clemson, and Louisville—all fell victim to the Eagles’ quarantining. But still, there was light at the end of the tunnel: a matchup with Florida State set for Tuesday night.
Just as the Eagles began to prepare to take on the No. 19 Seminoles with a much-depleted roster, disaster struck once more. According to a statement from BC Athletics on Monday evening, a positive test, subsequent quarantining, and contact tracing within the Florida State program halted the playing of Tuesday’s game.
The postponement came even after the Seminoles had arrived in Boston, Max Thorpe, a member of the Seminoles’ team, confirmed to The Heights. Even so, FSU will return to Tallahassee to complete its quarantine period.
Even if the Eagles had been able to proceed with their scheduled game, the team would have looked vastly different than it had the rest of the season. Because of COVID-19 protocols, only four scholarship players would have been available, according to BC head coach Jim Christian. Steffon Mitchell, CJ Felder, Jay Heath, and Kamari Williams were set to take their starting spots.
The remainder of the lineup would have included four walk-ons, a group with a combined total of 15 minutes on the court this season. Andrew Kenny, Sam Holtze, Will Jackowitz, and Quinn Pemberton, all who normally play scout team during practice, were set to take center stage. Prior to the game’s postponement, Christian said Kenny would get the starting nod.
“Our administration made the decision that the game needs to be played,” Christian said on Monday morning. “They know how I feel about it, but once that decision is made, my job is to get these guys ready. To let you know, we’ve spent the last two days trying to teach five guys our basic defense and offense so we could play Florida State on Tuesday night.”
Why the administration determined that the game was essential even without a full roster is unclear. The ACC doesn’t specify precisely how many players are necessary to field a team, but Christian said that the BC administration had said he just needed eight.
Even so, many fans and college basketball experts expressed their discontent with the decision to play the game despite an obviously short bench.
BC’s initial quarantine period followed a round of positive tests on Jan. 20, and the Eagles (3-10, 1-6 Atlantic Coast) haven’t played a game since an 80-70 loss to Notre Dame on Jan. 16. The Eagles returned to practice on Jan. 30.
The ACC’s COVID-19 guidelines stipulate that every member of ACC basketball teams and all other parties in close contact must be tested three times per week on non-consecutive days. The ACC also requires that a player who has tested positive or has been contact traced must either quarantine for 14 days without testing, for 10 days without testing and no symptoms appearing in that time, or for seven days with daily monitoring and no positive tests.
Featured Image by Leo Wang / Heights Staff