Iowa's Men's Basketball Team Pauses Workouts

John Bohnenkamp

Iowa's men's basketball team has paused its summer workouts for 14 days after two unidentified players tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.

The protocols for a positive test include contact tracing procedures, isolation for the individuals who test positive, and quarantine for those individuals who might have been exposed to someone with the virus.

The university announced on Monday that 533 tests have been conducted within the athletic department — athletes, coaches and staff — since the May 29 return-to-campus process began, with 27 positives (5.1 percent) reported.

Iowa does not release the breakdown of the numbers for athletes, coaches and staff.

Iowa's campus, including the athletic department, closed in mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Athletes, coaches and staff returned, and voluntary workouts began on June 8.

The men's basketball team opened voluntary workouts on June 15. Coaches were allowed to begin working with players on July 20.

The Hawkeyes have the bulk of their roster back from last season's 20-11 team that went 11-9 in Big Ten play. Center Luka Garza, a consensus first-team All-American last season, entered his name in the NBA Draft process, but will announce on Sunday whether he is going to return for his senior season. If Garza returns, the Hawkeyes will have all five starters back from last season.

Iowa has not released its fall sports schedules since the Big Ten elected to have just conference-only competitions for those seasons.

A statement from the Big Ten said that by limiting itself to league games only, "the Conference will have the greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season and make quick decisions in real-time based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic."

“We fully support the actions being taken by the Big Ten Conference, knowing that the health, safety, and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff is the top priority," Iowa athletics director Gary Barta said in a statement. "The past few months have entailed numerous conversations between my conference colleagues, Commissioner Warren and our Big Ten presidents, as we have worked to navigate the challenges associated with this pandemic.”

The Big Ten also announced that summer athletic activities will continue to be voluntary in all sports that are allowed to have workouts.

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