WEST LAFAYETTE – Currently ranked No. 3 in the country, the Purdue Men’s Basketball Team hopes to play well beyond February and deep into March Madness.
A tournament is an exciting experience for Purdue players, coaches and fans who watch the games in person or on television. But with the omicron COVID-19 outbreaks hitting basketball programs across the country, just playing the next game on the calendar is not guaranteed.
Tuesday, the Big Ten revised its COVID-19 package policy. If a team cannot meet the threshold of what the conference considers a safe competition (seven stock market players available and at least one accountant coach available), the match will be rescheduled instead of being forfeited as it was the case. in previous directives.
Only in cases where a team cannot reasonably demonstrate why it cannot meet this safe threshold that the match will be considered forfeit.
Purdue basketball is doing its part to avoid a lapse this season as 100% of the team’s staff and players have received the COVID-19 vaccine and a booster.
“It was a team effort,” Purdue goaltender Brandon Newman said. “We know we want to play for a while, (get the shot), was a big part of that.
“I’m really doing our part, so that I can give us a chance to make a game and limit the risk of games being canceled or postponed.”
First-year forward Caleb Furst missed Wednesday’s 104-90 win over Nicholls due to health and safety protocols. Purdue coach Matt Painter said Furst is “following protocol” and moving in the right direction.
Under NCAA 2021 guidelines released in August, a fully vaccinated player who is in close contact with an individual positive for COVID-19 may be removed from quarantine if a negative test is produced within three to five days. If a player – vaccinated or not – is positive, they must self-isolate for 10 days and go 24 hours without fever or other symptoms.
In the Big Ten, daily testing protocols are decided by its member schools. The Big Ten women’s basketball season has already dealt with COVID-related breaks.
Painter said the basketball program is doing everything in its power to stay healthy. By staying above the threshold needed to play a game, Boilermakers can maintain cohesion and deliver a quality product to the field for their media.
“You just hope for the best … I hope we can have this full experience for our players, our fans, everyone,” said Painter. “Not all of our fans can come to our games, (the fans) watch a lot on TV. So if (the vaccinations) can go across the country, that would be great.”