Positive covid-19 tests, contact tracing and enforced quarantines required the University of Arkansas at Little Rock women's basketball team to postpone its weekend set with Louisiana-Lafayette on Thursday.
Under Sun Belt Conference covid-19 protocols, a program must carry a roster of at least seven players in order to compete, and following a round of testing Wednesday, the Trojans fell below that threshold between positive tests and possible exposures within the program.
This weekend marks the first postponement of the Trojans' season. In a news release, UALR (5-4, 1-1 Sun Belt) said the pair of games with the Ragin' Cajuns, initially set for Friday and Saturday, will be rescheduled.
Sun Belt Commissioner Keith Gill told the Democrat-Gazette last month that the conference will likely schedule conference make-up dates this season on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
As of Thursday, a team spokesperson said the Trojans' two-game visit to Texas State on Jan. 15 and 16 remains on track based on conference protocol timelines, but further testing and exposure could jeopardize those games, as well.
Two hours northeast of Little Rock, the Arkansas State men's basketball team practiced Thursday but is preparing for an open weekend after the Red Wolves' trip to Texas State was postponed due to covid-19 concerns within the Bobcats' program.
A rescheduled date will be set for later in the season.
A week after ASU's women's team saw its conference-opener postponed on Jan, 1 and 2, the men's program finds itself in the same position -- healthy, but without games to play.
Earlier this season, when covid-19 forced scheduling changes, ASU men's Coach Mike Balado and the Red Wolves hastily found other opponents to add to the calendar and considered doing so again this coming week. Instead, ASU (3-6, 0-2) will take a step back following consecutive losses to open Sun Belt play.
"I think any time you have to work on yourself is valuable time," Balado said. "I explained this to the team as a bye week in the NFL for a team that isn't playing well and needs to work on some things but doesn't have time because you're preparing for games. This is a chance to do a lot of recalibrating."
The Red Wolves are schedueld to return next weekend, when they host Louisiana-Monroe, the same program that handed the Red Wolves their pair of early conference losses last weekend.
With UALR and ASU sidelined, along with the women's programs from Troy and Georgia State, there have now been 10 games postponed in men's and women's basketball across the Sun Belt over two weekends of conference play.