The recent surge in cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has sent professional sports leagues and several collegiate athletic programs scrambling to hold their seasons together. Now, the variant has thrown a wrench into some of Boston University’s athletic programs.
In the past two weeks, three BU athletic events have been postponed due to the virus — a women’s basketball game, scheduled to feature the Terriers and Bucknell University on Dec. 29 in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and a series of two women’s hockey games between BU and Boston College — one of which was set to take place in Chestnut Hill on Jan. 7 and another which was scheduled for Jan. 8 at Walter Brown Arena.
The women’s basketball matchup was rescheduled to take place on Feb. 2 in Lewisburg after it was postponed due to “COVID-19 protocols within the Terriers’ program,” according to BU Athletics.
The women’s hockey series was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols within BC’s program, according to BU Athletics. The rescheduled dates have not yet been announced.
Five women’s basketball games in the Patriot League, including BU’s matchup with Bucknell, have been postponed due to teams entering COVID-19 protocols.
Hockey East announced a series of several COVID-19-related postponements and cancellations for men’s and women’s games between Jan. 7-8, including the women’s hockey matchups between BU and BC. Several men’s and women’s contests featuring Hockey East teams had already been postponed earlier this week due to COVID-19 protocols as well.
BU men’s basketball head coach Joe Jones said that the recent worry over staying away from the virus has “caused a lot of anxiety amongst the coaches and the athletes.”
“My guys are really concerned about it, and if they get it how many games they will have to miss,” Jones said.
The men’s basketball team has yet to be affected by COVID-19-related cancellations or postponements, but two Patriot League matchups — a Dec. 29 game between Lafayette University and Colgate University and a Jan. 3 game between Lafayette and American University — have been postponed due to Lafayette and American’s programs each entering COVID-19 protocols.
Jones said he isn’t surprised by the way the virus has impacted games in recent weeks.
“It’s something that I thought could happen this year,” he said. “Chances are, people are going to get it on your team.”
Cases of COVID-19 at BU, in Massachusetts and across the nation have risen sharply over the holiday season due to the presence of the Omicron variant.
BU recorded 423 total cases on Jan. 4, marking the university’s high number of positive cases in a single day since testing began in Aug. 2020. On Jan. 5, 249 positive results were recorded with a positivity rate of 9.29% — the highest positivity rate since testing began.
Massachusetts reported 24,570 new cases of the virus as of Jan. 5, while The New York Times reported a daily average of 585,535 cases as of Jan. 5 nationwide.
The NBA’s rosters have been hit hard due to players entering the league’s COVID-19 protocols, while the NHL paused its season completely between Dec. 22-27.
Numerous collegiate basketball and hockey games have been rescheduled, while five NCAA football bowl games have been canceled due to the virus.
“It’s just one of those deals where you have to understand that things are going to change,” Jones said. “I think you just have to be worried, in a position where you’re ready for the change because you know what’s going to happen.”