NORTHRIDGE (CBSLA) — Cal State Northridge canceled its women’s basketball season Thursday following multiple coronavirus-related opt-outs that left the team with six players.
The Matadors began preseason camp with 12 players on the roster. Due to travel constraints, freshman center Rochelle Fourie, who is from New Zealand, could not enter the U.S.
Meanwhile, a half-dozen players elected to opt-out during preseason workouts, citing COVID-19 concerns.
The cancellation was made in conjunction with the players.
“As a team, we came to the difficult decision that we will not compete this year,” the team said in a statement released by the university.
“Since there are only six of us and the physical health concerns from the wear and tear of a full season with back-to-back competition, we are prioritizing our health and safety during this global pandemic. We love the game and we are competitors. We will use this time to focus and prepare mentally and physically to compete at a high level and full capacity for the 2021-22 season.”
The team’s head physician Dr. Eric Sletten said he concurred “wholeheartedly with this decision.”
“It would not be a safe endeavor to compete at the NCAA Division I level with such reduced person power,” Sletten said. “Foregoing the 2020-21 season is best for the health and safety of these student-athletes.”
Earlier this year, the NCAA directed all member institutions to provide athletes with an option to opt-out of athletics participation due to concerns about contracting COVID-19. The NCAA allowed athletes who decided to opt-out to keep that year of eligibility.
All existing athletic scholarships will be honored through the 2020-21 school year. The players will remain enrolled in classes, either virtually or in-person, as full-time students.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)