Men’s basketball postpones Pac-12 opener

Dec. 13, 2020, 4:55 p.m.

A Sunday evening meeting with USC (4-1, 0-0 Pac-12) was supposed to open conference play for Stanford men’s basketball (2-2, 0-0 Pac-12), but the Trojans’ lack of available scholarship student-athletes due to COVID-19 protocol forced the teams to postpone the competition.

Stanford announced the news Sunday afternoon, stating that the programs would look into alternative dates in the future to reschedule the contest, though Stanford Athletics did not disclose any potential dates in its announcement. 

The decision falls in line with the Pac-12 Conference’s Game Cancellation policy, which states that a team must have at least seven scholarship players and one countable coach available to participate. The affected institution may opt to continue with the competition, despite failure to produce the minimum number of scholarship student-athletes, though this was not the case in the Cardinal’s matchup with the Trojans.

Sunday’s news marks Stanford’s fifth game this season that has either been canceled or postponed in response to COVID-19 restrictions, cases, testing protocol or associated contact tracing. Utah Valley was set to travel to the Farm to be the Cardinal’s first competitor of the 2020-21 season on Nov. 25, but a positive test result amongst the Wolverines players prompted the contest’s cancellation. 

Stanford’s season thus tipped off at the 2020 Maui Invitational, which was relocated to Asheville, North Carolina, in light of the pandemic. While the Cardinal took the court in its first competitions in over eight months, Santa Clara County reverted to the California Department of Public Health’s “Purple Tier” and implemented a mandatory 14-day strict quarantine period for anyone traveling to the county from more than 150 miles away. The move also banned all contact sports within the county, prompting the Stanford team to remain in North Carolina to continue training following the conclusion of the Maui Invitational. 

Additionally, the Cardinal’s three remaining non-conference home games in December — against Cal Poly on Dec.7, Loyola Marymount on Dec. 9 and Sacramento State on Dec. 21 — were canceled in light of increasing restrictions. 

With the decision to postpone Sunday’s competition, Stanford now turns its attention to Tuesday’s matchup with California State University, Northridge (3-1, 0-0 Big West). Tentatively set to tip-off at 2 p.m. PT at Northridge, the game was not originally on the Cardinal’s season schedule but was arranged following the unanticipated cancellations both teams has experienced during unprecedented circumstances this season.

Contact Savanna Stewart at savnstew ‘at’

Savanna Stewart is a managing editor in the Sports section. She is a junior from Twin Bridges, Montana studying Political Science and Communication and enjoys running and playing basketball. Contact her at sstewart 'at'

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