COVID-19 precautions for the AAC Tournament


Morgan Anderson

The exterior of the Dickies Arena in Forth Worth, Texas.

The 2021 Air Force Reserve American Athletic Conference tournament takes place in Fort Worth, Texas this upcoming week. 

Both the men’s and women’s basketball tournament will take place at Dickies Arena The women’s basketball tournament will take place on March 8-11. The men’s basketball tournament will take place on March 11-14.

Face coverings will be required by all guests to watch the tournament’s games. Fans will be expected to maintain social distancing throughout Dickies Arena. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be available at Dickies Arena for all fans and employees. 

In a March 4 press release, the American Athletic Conference announced plans to provide a select amount of tickets to vaccinated frontline health care workers to attend both the women’s and men’s tournaments. 

For the team, they are having to take specific precautions to limit the impact that COVID-19 could have on their tournament, One of the precautions they will be taking is that each player will get their own room. 

“I’m not really sure about that,” Head Coach Isaac Brown said before the Tulane game. “I know Todd, our trainer, told us that if one kid test positive and that’s your roommate, you are not allowed to play in the tournament, even if you don’t have COVID. So we’re putting our guys in their own separate rooms. Normally they double up on the road.” 

The Shockers will be shorthanded this weekend as Head Coach Isaac Brown announced that two players will likely not travel with the team to Fort Worth due to COVID-19 protocol. As part of the team’s policy they did specify which players would be sidelined.

“Right now we have two guys that won’t be going on the trip with us. Other than that everybody will be getting on the bus (Wednesday).”

Earlier this season, the Shockers had some positive tests which caused WSU to be limited to eight players. For the players that were out they were not being tested within a 120 day time period. 

“We’re starting that COVID test starting on Thursday and we’ll be testing every day,” Brown said. “So we had like seven guys that wouldn’t have taken COVID tests because they were within the 120 days. Now all of those guys, every guy on the team, will be getting tested every day. So it’s kind of hyping it up a little bit for everybody now.” 

25% capacity is the expected attendance limit for the 2021 Air Force Reserve American Athletic Conference tournament. Brown said earlier this season that one positive test could disqualify a team from the tournament but it looks like the conference’s rules have changed since then as WSU is still being allowed to participate this weekend.

“In the conference tournament, if you have one kid get COVID you’re not able to play. Any staff member, any walk-on, any player, if anybody involved with the basketball program has COVID you can’t go to the conference tournament. You’ve just got to get lucky and make sure nobody has it and everybody is taking care of the stuff off the court.” 

The Shockers will kick off AAC Tournament play on Friday as the Shockers still await their quarterfinals opponent.