Arkansas Basketball: SEC updates Covid-19 policy for basketball games

Arkansas Basketball

JD Notae and Chris Lykes, Arkansas Basketball (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

The Arkansas Basketball team is getting ready to enter one of the most important phases of the season: conference play.

But, before the team gets locked in, they’ll need to note some updates to the SEC basketball Covid-19 policy.

Earlier this week, the Southeastern Conference announced, via press release, how the league will handle games in the wake of Covid-19.

The Arkansas Basketball team hopes it will not have to forfeit any SEC games

According to the release, teams will be required to compete if it has at least seven scholarship players and one member of the coaching staff available.

One interesting caveat is the impacted team is allowed to compete if they have less than seven players available, but they do so at their own discretion.

An SEC men’s or women’s basketball team will be required to play if it has at least seven (7) scholarship student-athletes and one (1) countable coaching staff member available to participate.  The impacted institution has the option to play the game with fewer than the seven players and/or one countable coach, if it elects to do so. Otherwise, upon approval by the Commissioner, the game will be rescheduled or declared a no contest.

So, there’s a scenario in which a team with only 4, 5 or 6 players could take the floor to compete in an SEC game.

It’s not totally unprecedented to see a college basketball game feature a team with only four serviceable players.

Back in 2017, we saw Louisiana Tech outscore UAB 20-16 in the final six minutes of the ball game with only four players taking on all five of the Blazers. They lost so many players mainly do to ejections from an earlier in-game scuffle.

The other relevant update to the Covid-19 policies is an option to request a delay in play.

In addition, if the institution believes there are other compelling circumstances that warrant delay, the institution may request postponement of the contest. The institution shall be required to present the reasons it believes the game should be postponed, including all relevant data (specifying the total number of players not available to participate due to isolation, quarantine and injury) to the Conference office as soon as practicable in advance of the contest. The final determination to postpone a contest shall be made by the Commissioner, or his/her designee

The team requested the delay will have to submit the request to the Conference, at which point a final determination will be made by the Commissioner.

Hopefully the Razorbacks will remain healthy during this stretch of play and they won’t have to worry about postponement or forfeitures due to Covid.