UAH Men’s Basketball joined the school’s hockey team Friday in a 10-day pause for all activity due to COVID protocols.
The Chargers had already postponed this weekend's games against West Alabama Friday when the school announced that next weekend’s games against Delta State would also not be played.
In the past week, the school’s ice hockey, men’s basketball and women’s basketball teams all had games postponed.
“Some of the things we had to do, last week and this upcoming week, are because of the health and safety of our student-athletes and our staff,” Dr. Cade Smith, the school’s director of athletics, said. “So we’re very confident that we’re doing that for the right reason.”
Smith is optimistic that Charger teams will be able to finish strong after a few road bumps early in the season. His hope is that the teams will play every game they can, once able to return.
“It’s most important that we obviously protect their health and their safety and we’ll do everything we have to do to do that,” he said. “We won’t do everything we have to do to play a game, but we’ll do everything that makes sense for them to play the game and so keeping those priorities in the right order, I think, are really important.”
Dating back to August when the school started keeping track of athlete testing, Smith says there have likely been more than 100 positive student-athlete cases. Now, with two teams hitting the brakes on activity, Smith said that the pause doesn’t necessarily mean the entire team is sick, as extra caution is taken with potential exposures.
“I’ll say, specifically to hockey, when we paused activity for ten days, the numbers were not all that bad,” he said. “We’re talking about four or five athletes on the team.”
Smith says the athletic training staff has been working to educate players to make good decisions about distancing and masking, though, they currently believe that the spread isn’t coming from athletic events.
"I do think that is resonating, maybe starts to resonate more once they do miss a game. So, hopefully, we're getting better and continue to be better about that as we continue," he said.
The university had started allowing fans back in Spragins Hall when the women’s game was postponed last Saturday. Smith says fans will be allowed to return when the action resumes, with 16% capacity for basketball and about 30% for hockey games for the remainder of the season.