COVID-19 does not like sports

145 men’s basketball teams have been through COVID-19 protocol



WSU guard Noah Williams dribbles towards the basket during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against California, Saturday, Jan. 15, in Beasley Coliseum.

AARIK LONG, Evergreen reporter

Another week of WSU Athletics events has come and gone and Cougar fans have once again been hit by the loss of events due to COVID-19 protocols. 

Earlier this month, the Cougs had a women’s basketball game against Arizona State and tennis matches against Gonzaga postponed, as well as a swim meet canceled. 

This coming weekend and next week will add men’s and women’s basketball against both of the Oregon schools to the lists of postponements, the Arizona Intercollegiate men’s golf tournament and swim meets at Utah and BYU to the list of cancellations

This is obviously frustrating for fans who want to watch WSU sporting events. Sports are an escape for a lot of us. With the state of the world, we could all use that escape into Cougar games.

Some may try to blame the players themselves for the outbreaks. Others may blame the students coming back to Pullman after the break.

However, the blame does not fall on the shoulders of the players or even on the students. The blame lies on the administration at WSU for not doing more to keep the students safe.

Nationally, we are seeing the largest spike in new COVID-19 cases of any point during this pandemic. Jan. 10 saw 1.4 million new cases in a single day. The previous high was just over 300,000 on Jan. 8, 2021.

In Whitman County specifically, a record-high 170 cases were reported on Jan. 18. The previous high was 124 on Sept. 6, 2020. On Jan. 19, Whitman County was sitting at a seven-day average of 66 new cases. The previous high was 51 on the same day as that previous week.

The WSU administration’s response on Jan. 14 was to stop serving concessions at basketball games through the end of January and release a stockpile of KN95 masks that they had been holding on to.

On Jan. 18, the university released another statement outlining when students should stay home and when they should go to class. The statement also says that the university is asking instructors to be lenient with students missing class due to illness during “this surge for the next 10–14 days.”

As a reminder, classes in the Fall of 2020 and Spring of 2021 were entirely online during a time when Whitman County and the rest of the U.S. were seeing fewer cases. It simply does not make sense in terms of the health of students and faculty to continue to be fully in person during a record-breaking surge.

The easiest and most reasonable solution would be to simply move online for a week or two to allow for this current surge to pass and let students make a choice when it comes to their health.

The current plan potentially makes students choose between their health and their grades. If the university only anticipates a surge of 10-14 days like they stated in their statement, it does not seem unreasonable to ask students to stay home during that time and return to the classroom afterward.

Had the university done the right thing and put their students’ health first, we may still be getting ready to watch men’s and women’s basketball square off with Oregon and Oregon State this weekend. But here we are. Almost everything this weekend for WSU Athletics (aside from a track meet at Idaho and tennis against BYU) has been canceled or postponed. Cougar fans will not have anything to cheer for, but in the grand scheme of things, it is a speck in the galaxy of issues the region is facing due to the pandemic.

Do the right thing WSU. Put your students’ health and safety first.