COVID-19 loophole? Air Force coach unhappy with Nevada game postponement

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COLORADO SPRINGS — It was a tough realization for Air Force women’s basketball head coach Chris Gobrecht to hear that her team’s game with Nevada this Sunday was postponed.

“They announced it like it was all final,” Gobrecht said. “I want to know why it’s final.”

Because of postseason implications, the Mountain West Conference has incentive to reschedule the Wolf Pack-Falcons matchup.

But could Nevada (11-4, 3-0 MWC) be dodging Air Force (7-7, 1-2 MWC)?

On the surface, why would the Wolf Pack avoid playing the Falcons, who they just beat by 15 points 10 days ago? Well, if one of their top players tested positive for COVID, that could be a reason for teams to avoid playing games.

“That’s a very nebulous type of a definition because, if you, let’s say the kids that have COVID are a couple of your better players, let’s just say they contact traced five or six,” Gobrecht said. “It’s just very hard to nail that down and to be able to prove it. If the decision was made within a time frame, they could potentially be cleared because of contact tracing. There were only a few kids on their team that tested positive.”

The Mountain West Conference requires teams to have seven players and one coach available in order to play. In this case, if a team cannot reach that minimum requirement due to COVID, a game can be considered a no-contest, not a forfeit.

“I honestly think Nevada needs to look at it again because I think they can play us on Sunday,” Gobrecht said. “They need to take another look at it because they had, according to what their coach told me, they have six players and they had some people in quarantine because of contact tracing. In other words, they’re not sick.”

Gobrecht mentioned Air Force may not have been prepared up to their expectations prior to the Falcons’ first game after the Christmas break, which coincidentally was a road game at Nevada, due to some players not being able to practice because of personal flight issues.

“Just because some people haven’t been able to practice, well, hey, we all agreed that’s (how it’s) going to be,” Gobrecht said. “I had a bunch of people who couldn’t practice because their flights didn’t get in.
You know, stuff happens. That’s not a reason to not play a game. We went and played them when half of our team hadn’t practiced. So, I just think they kind of need to take a look at it.”

FOX21 News reached out to the Nevada athletics department, which declined to comment on the matter.

Air Force is scheduled to return to action Thu., Jan. 13, at Colorado State.

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