Howard University has decided to end its men's basketball season earlier than originally intended. After playing fewer than ten games, the team has had to shut down operations due to multiple COVID-19 outbreaks.
“We had several team members test positive in January, and were forced to place the program on hold, cancel several games and finally cancel our season. It was and remains the right thing for us to do,” Howard University Men's Basketball Coach Kenny Blakeney stated in a press release.
“Ultimately, our No. 1 priority is to ensure the health and safety of our student-athletes, both mentally and physically. Canceling the season is in the best interest of the team at this time.”
Howard University was forced to postpone more than ten games this season. This includes against fellow Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference rivals like Morgan State University and a high-profile, nationally televised matchup against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Postponing games and ending their season early was not what the Howard University Bison hoped for at the start of the season. The historically Black university made a major splash over the season when they landed five-star recruit Makur Maker. Maker is the first five-star recruit to commit to an HBCU in the modern era. His decision garnered praise from HBCU graduates like ESPN's Stephen A. Smith and Vice President Kamala Harris.
"Howard University was one of the places that helped shape who I am today. It’s about more than an education—Howard instilled in generations of students a purpose and passion to change the world. Makur Maker, welcome to the Bison family," Harris tweeted after learning about Maker's commitment.
Despite shutting the season down, coaches at HBCUs around the country hope that what had at Howard can spread to other schools.
“There were a lot of people looking at what happened at Howard,” an unidentified MEAC coach told The Undefeated.
“Hopefully other kids will keep HBCUs on their radar.”
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