Update: Utica College sends 18 student-athletes home due to COVID-19 violations, other teams with no positive cases to resume play

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Photo from Utica College Athletics

Nick McAdam, Editor-in-Chief

A total of 18 students have been transitioned to remote learning for COVID-19 violating safety protocols, Utica College President Laura Casamento announced in a memo on Feb. 26. All other sports, pending no positive cases or athletes in quarantine, will be permitted to resume all practice and play.

A majority of the student-athletes involved are reported to have come from the women’s basketball team. Two anonymous members of the team confirmed that the season has been canceled.

“Unfortunately, the women’s team will not be playing this season,” the source said in an email sent to The Tangerine.

A video circulated on the popular social media platform Tik Tok, with one of the players from the team reported having explained the situation, while also confirming that the team’s season was canceled. However, the video has since been deleted.

The team’s schedule on the Utica College Athletics website has also been removed, now showing the team’s games and results from last season.

The investigation, according to the memo sent from Casamento, is still ongoing with other teams suspected to be involved in an off-campus gathering around or on the day of the Super Bowl. Athletic Director David Fontaine, the President’s Office and several members of the women’s basketball team declined to comment on the matter at this time. 

“I am very confident that the procedures we have followed in response to these incidents enabled us to avert a much larger outbreak that might have threatened the continuance of on-campus instruction for all or a portion of the Spring semester,” Casamento said. “As it is, the irresponsible actions of a few individuals resulted in more than 20 positive cases and nearly 100 students being placed in quarantine. This is unacceptable.”

On Feb. 24, Casamento announced that all athletic activity had been paused due to a sharp rise in positive COVID-19 cases among the student-athlete population.

The memo indicated that the positive cases did not result from practices or games, but rather from off-campus social interactions. The Office of Campus Safety and Emergency Management then launched an investigation into the matter, noting that students found in violation of COVID-19 protocol would be sent to remote learning and could face further sanctions.

Currently, both men’s and women’s ice hockey teams have resumed conference play along with track and field. Men’s basketball started its season against Elmira College on March 1, with spring football and multiple sports to follow shortly after.


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