Indiana State and East Carolina both announced Sunday that they are pulling out of the season-opening Gulf Coast Showcase due to the COVID-19 situation.

Indiana State cited an outbreak within the program, while East Carolina cited concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

Indiana State and East Carolina were slated to meet on Wednesday in their respective season openers on the first day of the eight-team tournament in Estero, Fla.

Both teams were slated to play three games in the tournament.

Indiana State didn’t divulge information regarding whether players, coaches or staff members were among the positive tests.

“We are obviously disappointed to have to withdraw from the Gulf Coast Showcase, but the safety and well-being of our student-athletes and those surrounding our program are the highest priority,” Indiana State athletic director Sherard Clinkscales said. “We have the utmost confidence in the protocols set forth by our medical staff as well as the medical team at the Gulf Coast Classic, and we do not want to risk the health of those that we might come in contact while in Florida.”

Indiana State is now slated to open the season at home against the University of Indianapolis on Dec. 6. East Carolina is now scheduled to begin its season on Dec. 5 against visiting Radford.

“We apologize to the organizers of the Gulf Coast Showcase for the cancellation because they have done a terrific job of setting up medical protocols for the event,” East Carolina athletic director Jon Gilbert said in a statement. “Obviously it’s disappointing for the members of our basketball program who were looking forward to opening the season, but our top priority is the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff. We understand that disruptions will come during this ongoing pandemic and we will make the necessary adjustments to our schedule.”

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There was no immediate word whether tournament organizers would line up two replacements for the tournament held near Fort Myers on Florida’s west coast.

The other three first-round matchups for the tournament are East Tennessee State vs. Abilene Christian, Akron against Middle Tennessee State and Austin Peay vs. Omaha.

The semifinals are slated for Thanksgiving night and the championship game is Friday night.

–Field Level Media

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