Vanderbilt women's basketball latest to end season early due to COVID-19 pandemic

·2 min read
Vanderbilt head coach Stephanie White
Vanderbilt head coach Stephanie White and the Commodores, after a 4-4 start, opted to end their season early on Monday. (AP/Butch Dill)

A fifth college basketball program has opted to end its season early due to COVID-19.

The Vanderbilt women’s team announced on Monday that it would not finish the season due to issues and concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. The Commodores officially finished the season with a 4-4 record, but went 0-3 in the SEC. They only had seven players available in their final game on Sunday, too.

“As a staff we have and will always prioritize the health and safety our student-athletes,” coach Stephanie White said in a statement. “We are coaching a group of young women who have been resilient in dealing with opt-outs, injuries, COVID-19 protocols as well as the physical, mental and emotional toll that comes with COVID-19. We respect our student-athletes’ decision and support them as we continue to move forward.”

White has now finished her fifth season leading the program, though has posted just a 46-83 overall record during that time span. Her contract with the university was not made public, however it’s expected that she is either at or near the end of her deal.

Vanderbilt is just the latest program to shut down early due to the pandemic, joining Duke, SMU, Virginia and San Jose State. The country is now averaging more than 218,000 new cases of the coronavirus and more than 3,300 deaths a day, according to The New York Times. Tennessee is averaging more than 4,400 new cases a day.

Several men’s programs are struggling with the coronavirus now, too. Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg was one of 12 people inside his program, which included seven players, who tested positive last week. Michigan State, Georgetown, West Virginia, Iowa State, Oregon and Oklahoma State all either paused team activities or had to deal with outbreaks last week, too.

“We fully support and respect the decision of our student-athletes. Their health, safety and well-being have always been, and will continue to be, a top priority,” Vanderbilt athletic director Candice Lee said in a statement. “We know that this was a tough call for them, in a year full of tough calls, and a disappointing outcome for the student-athletes and the program.”

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