UConn's Geno Auriemma: NCAA Tournament Teams 'Held Hostage' by COVID Protocols

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2021

UConn head coach Geno Auriemma talks to displayers during the second half of a college basketball game against Iowa in the Sweet Sixteen round of the women's NCAA tournament at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Saturday, March 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma was highly critical of the NCAA tournament protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We're actually being held hostage just so you can play basketball," he told reporters Sunday.

The NCAA has created strict rules to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, including holding the entire women's tournament in San Antonio, Texas.

Auriemma had problems with some specifics in the protocols that have been affecting his team.

"Some of the protocols are absolutely beyond ridiculous I have to say," he explained. "You got to wait an hour to go down the elevator because only four people are allowed in the elevator at the same time. Meanwhile, four of the same teammates that just spent the last 45 minutes together. Kinda bizarre, right?"

Auriemma also called for players to have time to sit outside by the pool or walk around the block.

The 67-year-old tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month and spent 10 days in quarantine at the start of the NCAA tournament before rejoining the team for the Sweet 16. The school's release said he did not experience any symptoms.

Positive tests also had a significant impact on the team's schedule, with several games canceled or postponed.

In the men's tournament, VCU was unable to play its first-round game because of a COVID-19 outbreak within the team.

The Huskies, one of the four No. 1 seeds, are set to compete in the Elite Eight on Monday against No. 2 Baylor after winning each of their first three games by at least 34 points.