CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland State Athletics, in conjunction with the Horizon League, has announced its men’s and women’s basketball league schedules for the 2020-21 season. In order to participate in the 2020-21 season, all Horizon League institutions have agreed to follow rigorous league-mandated safety protocols related to COVID-19 testing, masking, team travel, game day operations, as well as uniform management and notifications of both possible and confirmed cases of the virus.
“Having official Horizon League basketball schedules is a positive step towards seeing Viking teams safely return to competition in the next few weeks,” said Director of Athletics Scott Garrett. “I applaud Horizon League Commissioner Jon LeCrone, Deputy Commissioner Julie Roe Lach, and each of my counterparts at the 11 other Horizon League institutions for spending considerable time over the last several months crafting thoughtful health and safety protocols and a schedule that provides us all a chance to successfully complete the 2020-21 basketball season.”
In an effort to limit travel, meet NCAA testing protocols, and provide time between new opponents, Horizon League contests in 2020-21 will be played against the same opponent in a back-to-back weekend series, either Friday/Saturday or Saturday/Sunday, with each team playing a total of 20 league matchups. Both the men’s and women’s programs will host a total of five weekend series, with men’s/women’s doubleheaders in four of the five series. Tipoff times will be announced at a later date.
Cleveland State men’s basketball will hit the road for their first league series, taking on the newest member of the Horizon League, Robert Morris University, on Dec. 19 and Dec. 20. The women’s program will also begin league play against the Colonials, at the Wolstein Center, on Dec. 12 and Dec. 13. Potential non-conference games between Nov. 25 and the start of conference play are being considered and will be announced when finalized.
“It’s an exciting day for myself and our program,” said men’s basketball head coach Dennis Gates. “I would first like to thank Cleveland State President Harlan Sands, Director of Athletics Scott Garrett, and our CSU Athletics Resocialization Committee for their leadership, ensuring that our players return to play in a safe manner. I am so proud of the amount of patience, understanding and flexibility our young men and their parents have displayed since March up until this moment. Our program has been working extremely hard during the offseason and we cannot wait to get out on the court and compete in this incredible league.”
“We are very appreciative of all the hard work that has gone into making it possible for us to take the court this season,” said women’s basketball head coach Chris Kielsmeier. “Thank you to the Horizon League for putting together the modified schedule and to Cleveland State University leadership and athletics department staff for establishing protocols that allow for a safe return for our student-athletes. The entire CSU women’s basketball program is excited to get back on the court, and we are looking forward to making the most of every opportunity that we get to spend together on and off the court this season.”
Due to the conditions created by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Cleveland State will begin the season with no spectators inside the Wolstein Center. League safety protocols will prohibit spectators at all conference games through at least December 31, 2020, while CSU will work with local health officials to evaluate future spectator plans should those factors significantly improve. All games will continue to be streamed on ESPN digital platforms. CSU Athletics will also announce in the coming weeks alternative methods for fans to stay engaged with Vikings Basketball throughout the season.