McMurry University Vice President for Student Affairs and Intercollegiate Athletics Sam Ferguson announced the game-day protocol for the home basketball games scheduled between November 27 and December 1.
Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in the Abilene area, the games will be played without fans in Kimbrell Arena. While difficult, the decision comes in response to Hendrick Health’s Open Letter to the Community released on November 19. The letter outlined sobering news of a healthcare system at capacity without any Intensive Care Unit beds available in Abilene or Brownwood.
“We are so thankful for the healthcare workers who are putting their health and safety at risk in order to serve our community,” said Ferguson. “At McMurry University, we pride ourselves on our service to Abilene and the Big Country and this plan is designed with our neighbors in mind. We also care deeply about our scholar-athletes’ experience and know that having family and friends in the stands enhances that experience. However, our healthcare professionals and our Community are counting on us. We are obligated to do our part to mitigate the risk of community spread. We’re just happy to get our scholar-athletes back out on the court and are thankful for the technology that exists that will allow our fans to follow from home.”
The War Hawks men’s basketball team is scheduled to play Sul Ross State on Friday, November 27, and Mary Hardin-Baylor on Saturday, November 28. The women’s team is slated to host games against East Texas Baptist and UT Dallas on Monday, November 30, and Tuesday, December 1.
Following ASC testing protocols, scholar-athletes and officials will be tested before game day. Furthermore, the players on the bench and game day personnel will physically distance and wear masks. All home events are live streamed on www.mcmurrysports.com.
“Our coaches and athletic trainers have attended countless virtual meetings developing a plan to return to play,” Ferguson said. “We believe we have a solid strategy that will offer a safe scholar-athlete experience beginning with testing. I’m thrilled to say that our University Cabinet and Board of Trustees values our scholar-athlete experience enough to invest substantially in testing as a means to enhance safe competition. We couldn’t return to play without that investment, so we’re grateful for their support.”
McMurry will re-evaluate the environment after the December 1 contest and announce future fan protocols before the December 10 men’s game versus East Texas Baptist. Plans are to open Kimbrell Arena with limited seating capacity, implementing strict physical distancing guidelines and mask requirements.