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Saturday, January 16, 2021

No basketball regionals. Thanks, COVID-19

By Connor J. Benintendi

The Western men and women’s basketball West Regional tournaments have been canceled due to concerns over the “evolving COVID-19 situation,” according to Western Athletics.

Around 4:40 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, Western Athletics published a press release suspending all spring athletic competitions until further notice, effective Friday, March 13.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes and the entire WWU campus, our fans and community members is our top concern, and this is the right thing to do,” said Western Director of Athletics, Steve Card. “This is an ever-changing situation that we will continue to monitor at the school, conference and national levels.”

Western’s decision is in response to the National Collegiate Athletic Association President, Mark Emmert, canceling any remaining winter and spring NCAA championships.

Both men and women’s West Regional tournaments were originally scheduled to kick off on March 13.

The men’s team has since been ordered to return to Bellingham from the location of the event, in La Jolla, California. The women’s team is returning from Honolulu, Hawaii.

Hawaii Pacific University Athletics—the host of the women’s tournament—also published a press release following the cancelation.

“We are disappointed that we couldn’t play the regional,” said Sam Moku, Hawaii Pacific University’s executive director of athletics and community relations. “A lot of people put a lot of work into preparing for a great tournament.”

There will be more updates to come as information becomes available.

Follow The Western Front on Facebook and Twitter for ongoing updates. Our full coverage of how the novel coronavirus is affecting Whatcom County is here.

If you’re interested in contributing to the Front’s reporting during this crisis, you are invited to participate in our open newsroom project, where experienced reporters and editors will work alongside the community to gather and verify information that leads Whatcom County toward shared solutions. To participate, please fill out this form.

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