Men’s basketball on pause following positive virus test

The men’s basketball team has been placed on pause following a positive COVID-19 test within the program.

With the unidentified tier 1 member of the program testing positive, the Griffs won't be eligible to play until Nov. 27. Credit: Canisius Athletics/ Go Griffs

The Canisius men’s basketball team has been paused following a positive COVID-19 test and head coach Reggie Witherspoon tested positive for the virus in October, according to two separate statements from the athletic department Thursday.

The positive test came from a “Tier 1” member of the program, which includes players, coaches, trainers and student managers. According to NCAA guidelines, the team will need to pause all basketball activities for 14 days and the entire team will quarantine. With the season set to begin on a national level on November 25, according to those guidelines the team would not be eligible to play until November 27.

Canisius became the second MAAC team to have a positive test on Thursday and be shut down, as Iona shut down on Thursday morning following a positive test and canceled four non-conference games. 

The non-conference schedule for the Griffs has not been released yet, but the MAAC is set to release a new conference schedule later this week designed to limit travel. 

“As we work our way through this pandemic, the health, wellness and safety of our student-athletes, coaching and support staffs remain our No. 1 priority. Our primary focus over the past eight months has been to put an effective COVID-19 response plan in place, understanding that we will have disruptions along the way in our efforts to return to intercollegiate athletics,” athletic director Bill Maher said in a statement. “We look forward to when our men’s basketball team can return to team activities.”

In addition on Thursday, head coach Reggie Witherspoon announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19 in October through the athletics department’s surveillance testing program and was asymptomatic. 

“During this entire pandemic, I have been overly cautious and followed all professional medical recommendations, but I still tested positive,” he said in a statement.

All of this follows the news that all Canisius teams were temporarily shut down in early November, and five teams had a positivity rate above 3%, causing a longer shutdown. Now, another team at Canisius is shut down. 

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