After discussions between the NCAA and the Douglas County (Omaha) Health Department, the North Carolina State baseball team was pulled from the College World Series early Saturday morning, just hours after a roster of just 13 players fought gamely in a 3-1 loss to Vanderbilt. It had already been known that two unvaccinated players had tested positive for COVID. That led to tests for the entire team, where four vaccinated players (who were in the dugout for Friday's game) tested positive. Due to the no contest, Vanderbilt automatically advances to next weeks championship series against either Mississippi State or Texas, whose deciding game remains set for Saturday night. No word yet on whether Vanderbilt will face increased testing over the next couple of days. The Mississippi State and Texas programs played in the opposite bracket and have not faced NC State on the field. Both the NCAA women's softball and men's baseball tournaments had been held in recent weeks without incident. At the conclusion of the winter season, Virginia Commonwealth men's basketball along with Michigan and Notre Dame men's hockey were forced to withdraw from their respective tournaments. The main takeaway is that the COVID era (and I don't mean Earned Run Average) is not over. If four vaccinated players can test positive from one team, where does that leave other participants and personnel. One can assume a return to masking for those working the remaining games of the CWS. Per Worldometers, the weeks long decline in COVID cases in the United States has slowed in recent days.
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