UVM to delay start of basketball, hockey seasons to Dec. 18th

UVM men’s and women’s hockey teams were set to open seasons this Friday.
Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 8:58 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The winter sports season at the University of Vermont was set to begin this Friday. But late Sunday night, UVM announced it was delaying the start of play for it’s men’s and women’s basketball and hockey teams for a month.

UVM Director of Athletics Jeff Schulman called the decision the “responsible course of action” for the athletic department to take in response to what he described as the current all-out effort going on around the state of Vermont to bring the spread of the coronavirus back under control.

The UVM men’s and women’s hockey teams were set to begin their seasons this weekend. The men hosting Connecticut this Friday and Saturday at Gutterson, while the women were set to travel to Conn for two games. The UVM men’s basketball team was to play a trio of non-conference games at a ‘bubble’ environment at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut in late November and early December.

The decision to move the planned start of play for hockey and basketball to December 18th means the men’s hockey team will have missed the first eight games of it’s 20-game Hockey East-only schedule, and the UVM women will miss the first six games of an 18-game conference schedule. There are flex weeks built into the schedule, so the opportunity exists for some or all of those games to be rescheduled at a later date.

As for basketball, the America East return plan has the first games of conference play set for December 19th and 20th, so if the new return date holds, the Vermont men’s and women’s basketball team will only miss any potential non-conference games.

Schulman says he feels that extra month wait will hopefully be enough time for conditions to settle down and allow the teams to begin competition. He also knows that, while so many want the games to return, patience is still needed.

“In my role as a athletic director I want our teams to be able to play, our coaches want to play and our student-athletes want to play.”, Schulman said on Monday. “We all recognize that we are in a global pandemic. This is a once in a century experience and there are things that are more important than playing hockey and basketball games right now. As difficult as that is, I think for fans and for our athletes, people really do get it.

We’ve told our teams right from the start to be prepared for anything and they have been. They’ve been incredibly resilient and selfless in terms of dealing with the circumstances, and so nobody had to tell us that this was the right thing to do.”

The NCAA also announced on Monday that it intends to host the entire 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at one location, and is currently in talks with Indianapolis to serve as that host site.

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