SOUTH KINGSTOWN — The University of Rhode Island men's basketball team will remain out of action until the new year.

Sidelined by COVID-19 since the middle of December, the Rams saw their targeted return date pushed back amid a host of postponements announced Tuesday by the Atlantic 10. URI was set to host Dayton in its A-10 opener on Thursday. Its new opener is set for Sunday against La Salle at the Ryan Center.

The Rams last played Dec. 13 at Milwaukee. Their Dec. 19 game against College of Charleston was canceled due to multiple positive tests for players and staff members. The situation also wiped out their Dec. 22 game against Brown.

The Rams are not alone, in the A-10 and around the country. The league announced five postponements on Dec. 30 in men's basketball and four more for women's basketball on Jan. 1.

Included in the women's cancellations is another matchup between URI and Dayton, which was scheduled for New Year's Day at the Ryan Center.

For the original opening night of conference play, only two men's games will be played — Fordham vs. La Salle and St. Joseph's vs. Richmond.

In light of the issues, the A-10 joined conferences around the nation in changing their forfeiture policy.

Previously, a team that had to pull out of a game due to COVID-19 issues would have to forfeit, a policy put in place when the pandemic was in a different stage. Now the league will attempt to reschedule games. If no date can be found, the game will be declared a no-contest.

“Conference standings and championship seeding will be based on an approved formula balancing team win-loss records with total number of contests completed,” the league said in a release. “If a team opts to not play the rescheduled contest, the game can be declared a forfeit by the league office.

"In addition, the conference also revised an earlier policy for requiring teams to complete conference games. The revision requires teams that have seven available scholarship student-athletes and one countable coach to compete in all conference contests. Teams may also participate with less than seven available student-athletes. If a team elects not to play, despite having seven scholarship student-athletes and one coach available, that team will incur a forfeit and be given a loss in the league standings, and the opposing team will be granted a forfeit win.”

The A-10 medical advisory committee will meet Wednesday to review the newest CDC policy reducing the isolation days of asymptomatic vaccinated individuals from 10 to five days. This review will occur yielding to all local COVID protocols and medical guidelines within the conference footprint.

Decisions regarding forfeit policies for spring sports will be made at a later date, as the league and its medical advisory committee continue to monitor the pandemic.

Whenever conference play does finally begin, URI will carry an 8-3 record into it. The Rams won two straight following their loss to Providence College on Dec. 4.

After Sunday's game against La Salle, Rhody is slated to hit the road for games against George Mason and Davidson.

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