CHICAGO — The Chicago State University men’s basketball team will not travel for two regularly scheduled Western Athletic Conference games this week, and its women’s team will not host two games, the school said late Tuesday, citing the spread of the coronavirus.
The school said in a statement that it was making the move with the “health and well-being of the campus community in mind.”
The cancellations are believed to be the first by a major sport in the United States due to the virus.
The university said the men’s team would not travel to Seattle University in Washington or Utah Valley University for WAC games on Thursday and Saturday. The school also said the women’s team would not host Seattle or Utah Valley at the campus’ Jones Convocation Center on the same days.
“Chicago State athletics views our decision as a reaffirmation of our commitment to the well-being, health and safety of our student athletes,” Chicago State athletic director Elliott Charles said in the statement.
The Western Athletic Conference and Seattle declined to comment about Chicago State’s decision.
Worldwide, more than 93,000 people have been infected and over 3,100 have died, the vast majority of them in China. The number of countries hit by the virus exceeded 70.
Virus clusters in the United States led schools and subways to sanitize and spread fears among nursing home residents, who are especially vulnerable. The number of the infections in the U.S. topped 100 and the death toll climbed to nine. All of the deaths were in Washington state, and most of them were residents of a Seattle-area nursing home.
Chicago State said it is also evaluating whether to attend next week’s WAC tournament in Las Vegas. The school said it would make a decision about participation later this week. The school also said it is reviewing travel plans for intercollegiate sports teams.
Chicago State men’s basketball team is 0-14 in WAC play and 4-25 overall this season. The women’s team is 1-13 in conference and 1-26 overall.