April 14, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

UCLA-Oregon basketball postponed after referee tests positive

The Pac-12 Conference has taken its inability to call games to a new level.

The officials scheduled to work UCLA’s basketball game against No. 25 Oregon on Wednesday afternoon at Matthew Knight Arena were barred from doing their jobs after one tested positive for COVID-19 and two others were ruled out through contact tracing, Ducks coach Dana Altman told reporters in Eugene. As a result, the game was called off.

The crew of Kevin Brill, Eric Curry and Randy McCall had worked Oregon State’s game against Portland on Tuesday in Corvallis, Altman said, making the officials close contacts for each other after one positive test.

The Pac-12 did not have alternate officials available as replacements and a conference spokesman did not immediately respond to an inquiry seeking comment about its policy or whether it would reimburse UCLA for its travel expenses.

“Our guys are devastated,” Bruins coach Mick Cronin said in a statement in which he also expressed concern for the health of the officiating crew. “This was going to be a great basketball game on a national stage. Our players were ready to move past a tough ending against Ohio State last Saturday.”

Instead, they were headed back to Los Angeles to start a short Christmas break before resuming practice on Sunday. The Bruins’ next scheduled game is against Utah on Dec. 31 at Pauley Pavilion.

UCLA said in a statement that the Pac-12 would work with the Bruins (5-2 overall, 1-0 Pac-12) and Ducks (6-1, 1-0) to try and find a mutually agreeable date to reschedule the game. The teams’ other meeting this season is scheduled for Jan. 28 at Pauley Pavilion.

One possible makeup date would be Wednesday March 3, because each team has only one game scheduled that week, against its traditional rival on March 6.

This was the third disruption of the season for UCLA, which has had a game against Long Beach State postponed twice because of repeated COVID-19 issues involving the Beach.

Pac-12 officiating has long been a focal point of fan angst, mostly because of missed calls and botched replays. Not being able to call a game was something new.

“Unfortunate for our young men who traveled to Eugene & were ready to play,” UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond tweeted. “We look forward to working with the Pac-12 conference on addressing this situation.”