ST. GEORGE — The Dixie State basketball programs’ introductions to Division I have been stalled yet again, as both the men’s and women’s teams lost the opportunities for key home openers against in-state opponents in a span of three days due to COVID-19 concerns.
On Wednesday, it was announced that the women’s home opener on Dec. 1 against BYU was canceled due to “DSU Athletic Department COVID-19 protocols,” per a school release. On Friday, DSU released another statement saying the men’s home opener, originally slated for Saturday against Weber State, was canceled because of a “possible COVID-19 case inside the WSU program.”
According to WSU’s website, the team had not yet departed for St. George, meaning there is no chance for possible exposure to the Dixie State campus or the city from this outbreak.
The two games were scheduled to bring awareness and fanfare to the school’s delayed arrival to Division I athletics, having been promoted following the 2020 spring season. So far, DSU has only competed in one event as an official member of the Western Athletic Conference: a swim meet with BYU on Nov. 10.
The cancellations come on the heels of a two-week shutdown of high school athletics in the state of Utah as ordered by Gov. Gary Herbert in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. High school basketball events are slated to begin Dec. 3.
The Southern Utah University men’s team played its first game Wednesday at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles and will play its first home game Saturday. The SUU women’s team is scheduled to begin its season Saturday at Utah Valley.
COVID-19 continues to plague the country and state, with St. George leading smaller cities with 101 new infections on Wednesday, the latest data available.
The next scheduled home game for the women Trailblazers is Dec. 9, hosting Division III Saint Katherine. DSU’s men are slated to host North Dakota on Wednesday. Tip-off time for both games is 7 p.m. DSU announced last week it would allow up to 1,000 fans at home games.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.