By: Kevin Contreras, Sports Editor
With the current condition of the pandemic and the spread of the Omicron variant, UC Riverside has decided to transition to an online format for the first two weeks of the 2022 winter quarter. As a result, Highlander Athletics has decided to follow the school’s lead and take a quick break while they assess the threat of the pandemic.
Going into the winter season, the main sport being affected in the Big West Conference is basketball. On Dec. 20, Highlander athletics released a statement where they announced that their men’s basketball non-conference game against the University of Idaho would be canceled. Days later, they announced that the games scheduled for Dec. 28 and Jan.1 would also be canceled due to the pandemic. The women’s basketball team also had to cancel. The women’s basketball team also had to cancel their games on those same dates.
In addition to that, Highlander athletics would no longer be allowing fans to attend in person until Jan. 17. Whether in-person attendance will resume after Jan. 17 is yet to be confirmed.
With five out of the 11 schools in the Big West Conference being UC’s, the UC system-wide hiatus affects many games within the conference. Both UC Irvine and UC San Diego have also canceled many of their upcoming games, forcing a brief halt in the progression of the conference. With the championships still scheduled for late March, it is still unclear how UCR and the Big West conference will make up for the games being canceled.
UC Riverside’s men’s and women’s team are scheduled to return to the court on Jan. 6, and the games will be streamed on ESPN+. Be sure to tune in and support your fellow Highlanders on the road to the championships.