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Florida A&M cancels women’s basketball season because of COVID-19 concerns

The Rattlers’ season was to start Nov. 25 vs. Florida State

Florida A&M’s women’s basketball team has opted out of playing this season because of COVID-19 concerns, the school announced Monday.

The Rattlers were to have begun the season against Florida State on Wednesday, and they were to face Tennessee on Friday. The Seminoles will now begin their season Sunday vs. Florida, and the Lady Vols will start Saturday vs. Western Kentucky.

Florida A&M had a limited number of players to start the season, and with the increase in cases recently, it was decided the Rattlers would not be able to move forward for 2020-21.

“I’m disappointed for my two seniors and the young ladies who have worked very hard to get to this point. However, the safety and health of our student-athletes is our top priority,” said Florida A&M coach Shalon Pillow, a former Tennessee player who is in her first season with the Rattlers after previously working at Middle Tennessee, Kentucky, South Florida and Hofstra. “Although this was a tough decision, we will continue to support our young ladies during this time.”

Florida A&M in Tallahassee became the second historically Black college from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) to opt out of this women’s basketball season, joining Bethune-Cookman in Daytona Beach, Florida, which canceled all sports for this school year on Oct. 27. Earlier this month, Florida A&M announced it was also opting out of the football season, which for the MEAC and Southwestern Athletic Conference, will be held in the spring.

Other institutions that have opted out of women’s basketball this season are Cal State Northridge and all eight Ivy League schools.

Mechelle Voepel writes for ESPN.com