“We had several team members test positive in January, and were forced to place the program on hold, cancel several games and finally cancel our season. It was and remains the right thing for us to do,” Howard Coach Kenneth Blakeney said in the statement. “Ultimately, our number one priority is to ensure the health and safety of our student-athletes, both mentally and physically. Canceling the season is in the best interest of the team at this time.”
Howard shut down Maker, seen as a likely NBA prospect, because of hip issues after the team’s second game Nov. 27; on Dec. 17, Eastern opted out of the rest of the season because of concerns about playing during the pandemic. He declared for the NBA draft Jan. 3.
After being allowed to visit with family members over Christmas break, Howard’s players returned to the team’s makeshift bubble around the new year and a significant number of them tested positive for the coronavirus. The Bison paused team activities Jan. 8, resuming them in a limited manner Jan. 21.
But Howard’s first scheduled game back, Jan. 27 against North Carolina Central, was canceled amid coronavirus concerns among the Bison program.
Howard is the third team in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference to call off its men’s basketball season. Bethune-Cookman announced in October that it would not play any sports during the 2020-21 academic year. In November, Maryland Eastern Shore announced it would not play spring sports, including men’s and women’s basketball. Teams in the Ivy League also are forgoing their basketball seasons because of the pandemic.
Howard joins Chicago State as men’s teams that called off their seasons after actually playing games.