Coaches worry about COVID safety ahead of MAAC basketball tournament
Basketball teams from Monmouth, Rider and St. Peter’s universities are getting ready to head to Atlantic City for the MAAC Tournament.
The event tips off in Atlantic City next week. But even with COVID-19 safety measures in place and the tournament on the line, there are major concerns among the coaches.
“We are going to be in a casino starting on Sunday and we play Wednesday or Thursday,” says Monmouth coach King Rice. “That’s a lot of time away from our homes in a casino. So, I’m hopeful the casinos are straight and we can keep COVID off of all our kids.”
Rice isn’t the only one with worries. The league announced that a limited number of friends and families can attend the tournament. But St. Peter’s coach Shaheen Holloway says that he isn’t sure that this is the best idea.
“I don’t want to try to have fans in a place like Atlantic City where it’s hard to police, because it’s so big and you don’t want guys trying to sneak out and see family and friends they haven’t seen in a long time. Personally, I’m against it,” he says.
Since last year’s tournament was canceled, it has been a complicated time for all college basketball teams. But despite the uncertainty, the coaches say that their players want to play.
“I think these kids have done a tremendous job handling everything that’s been thrown at them – cancelations, worrying about being sick – and I’m just proud that the young men in this league have done a tremendous job representing all of us,” says Rice.
The tournament begins on Monday. The winner gets an automatic bid to this year’s NCAA Tournament.