False positive may have cost A&T MEAC title shot

North Carolina A&T may have had to opt-out of the MEAC Tournament due to a false positive. Its head coach says more could have been done.

A positive COVID-19 test ended the last shot North Carolina A&T had at winning its final MEAC Tournament. But some officials at A&T believe a false-positive may have cost them a shot at the MEAC title.

Highly placed sources within the A&T program have confirmed for HBCU Gameday that an A&T basketball assistant coach was given a positive result in Norfolk twice on Thursday, the day before the team was to take on the NC Central-Norfolk State winner.

Once the team dropped out of the tournament it went back to Greensboro. There the assistant has reportedly tested negative three times since returning, one source said.

The test forced A&T to opt-out of the tournament, meaning Norfolk State had no opponent for Friday’s semifinal, clearing a path to Saturday’s championship game. NSU will play Morgan State in the MEAC Championship Game on Saturday afternoon.

A&T head coach Will Jones told HBCU Gameday he thinks more could have been done to give his team a shot to compete.

“Individuals should have been isolated, and those players should have been tested multiple times,” Jones said. “We had an entire day in between the games to make sure those players and staff members were safe. I don’t think those protocols were thought about and our guys didn’t get the chance to compete for something they worked so hard for the entire season.”

NCAT officials are expected to make a statement on Saturday.

MEAC officials say that all the test results were run through the same local testing agency. The first test was a rapid test, and the second was more thorough.

North Carolina A&T, which owns a league-high 17 conference championship banners, will not get a chance to add an 18th MEAC crown as it heads out the door. A&T is moving to the Big South Conference, a move that will become official on July 1, 2021.

A&T finished 11-10, winning the MEAC Southern Division title. 

False positive may have cost A&T MEAC title shot
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