SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - UPDATE: Savannah State’s women’s basketball team will not open their season Tuesday night.
SSU announced the home game against Allen University has been postponed. The Lady Tigers are now scheduled to tip off the season Thursday, February 11 against Benedict at home.
“While postponements can be frustrating, our greatest priority is returning our student-athletes to play as safely as we can,” Savannah State Director of Athletics Opio Mashariki said.
It’s just one of several schedule changes for Tiger athletic teams announced Tuesday.
Men’s basketball games against Miles College scheduled for February 13-14 in Savannah have also been postponed. The Tigers men’s team will open the season Monday, February 15 at home against Allen.
A three-game home baseball series against Salem University scheduled for February 12-13 has been pushed back to April 9-10. The SSU baseball team opens the season on February 27 at Voorhees. The athletic department says the baseball schedule change was made due to weather.
“Basketball’s games this week were postponed due to contact tracing protocols that found some student-athletes had possibly been exposed to COVID-19. As a precaution, these student-athletes have been quarantined and the games postponed. Our student-athletes remain safe and healthy. Savannah State’s administration will continue working hard to ensure that we can conduct live games safely.”
The Tigers’ baseball home opener is set for March 2 against Edward Waters College.
UPDATE (02/05/21): Savannah State announced Friday the men’s basketball season opener scheduled for February 9 has been postponed.
“In an effort to ensure the teams meet established safety protocols and guidelines, the game has been postponed to a later date yet to be announced,” the school’s athletic department said in a statement.
The Tiger women’s team will still open their season at home on February 9 against Allen University as originally scheduled.
SSU says updates concerning the men’s basketball schedule will be released next week.
ORIGINAL STORY (02/04/21): Savannah State announced in a press release Thursday that both men’s and women’s basketball will begin their seasons in February after multiple delays.
Previously, they had been scheduled to start the beginning of January, after the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) suspended fall and winter sports. The SIAC then pushed back the start date until March, 2021. In their December decision, The SIAC did allow member institutions to schedule non-conference games in February, and many teams in the conference have already began playing.
Men’s basketball will tip-off their abbreviated season Feb. 8 in Tiger Arena, hosting Benedict College.
The women’s team will open the following day at home on the 9th against Allen University.
Currently, each team has just eight games scheduled, and are hoping to add “at least three more” to the schedule, per the release.
“You know, we’re going to get in shape on the fly and we’re going to make adjustments on the fly, so they’ll have fun, because, you know, they’re playing basketball, but from a coaching standpoint and perspective, you feel that you need more time to prepare,” said Head Men’s Basketball Coach Horace Broadnax.
The release also says that the SIAC has not made a decision as to whether or not there will be a conference championship, or conference games at all, saying, “As of now, all Savannah State games will be played as non-conference matches, even though both teams will be playing several SIAC member institutions.”
“It is a condensed season, eight games, but we’re excited to be playing and have the opportunity to move forward,” added Cedric Baker, SSU’s head women’s basketball coach.
The Tigers could still receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Division II championship in March if they can play 11 games, and do well enough to get ranked.
The release also said, “There will be no doubleheaders this season, due to COVID-19 safety protocols. The Savannah State Athletics Administration has implemented a comprehensive game day management plan for this season that includes testing three times a week for the teams and weekly testing for game day staff.”