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Sports >  NCAA basketball

Some Gonzaga players able to do basketball activities during pause from games

UPDATED: Tue., Dec. 8, 2020

The announcements come nearly every day: Program X has paused college basketball activities due to COVID-19 concerns. On Tuesday, it was Siena, Quinnipiac, Houston and DePaul.

DePaul has had four games canceled and three postponed. The first game on the Blue Demons’ revised schedule is Dec. 18.

Gonzaga joined the list Sunday, but was careful not to word it as pausing basketball activities. The school’s release stated it was pausing men’s basketball competitions through Dec. 14.

That announcement erased home games against Tarleton State, Southern, Northern Arizona and Idaho. Some GU players and staff considered recovered positives – those who have recovered after a positive test by meeting numerous criteria – and others cleared through exhaustive safety protocols are permitted to do some basketball activities, athletic director Mike Roth said.

“There is nobody out there that hasn’t been protocol cleared by Spokane Regional Health,” Roth said. “That’s the way we’ve been operating since this whole thing started and since Spokane Regional Health allowed student-athletes to come back (months ago) to campus. They’ve been great about directing us and clarifying for us.”

Recovered positives face additional scrutiny before they can return to the court.

“They have to go through a physical evaluation with the doctors,” Roth said. “This is a protocol that was put in place by the NCAA and CDC, and just about everybody because there’s been concern from months ago of long-term issues, cardiac, respiration, so they’re really checking on those things.”

Basketball activities could be as simple as a player getting up extra shots, which has become fairly routine for many Zags past and present. It wasn’t known how many Zags will be able to be participate in basketball activities during the pause from games. Gonzaga lists 17 players on its roster, including five walk-ons.

A Gonzaga player and staff member who tested positive Friday, one day before the Baylor game was called off, are expected to remain in Indianapolis until cleared to return by Marion County health authorities.

Roth said it was his understanding the four that had been in COVID-19 protocols in Fort Myers, Florida, have returned to Spokane.

“The decision to pause (the next four) games wasn’t made by Spokane Regional Health,” Roth said. “The decision was made by Gonzaga. At this moment, I’m sure some of our student-athletes aren’t happy because they want to play the games. We’ll never know if we made the right decision, but we do know that we feel like we made the right decision, as hard as it was.

“We’re all playing off the same rulebook. If you’re positive, you’re sitting and if you’re contact traced, you’re sitting. And none of us do our own contact tracing. That’s done by the regional health folks.”

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