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Contact tracing issues lead to postponement for Texas-Tennessee

Texas and Idaho play basketball at the Erwin Center on Dec. 9. Sunday's nonconference matchup between Texas and Tennessee was called off hours before the game because of COVID-19 protocols.

Just two hours ahead of its scheduled tip with Tennessee on Sunday, Texas announced that its home game had been postponed.

The Longhorns and Lady Vols were slated to meet at the Erwin Center at 4 p.m. According to a press release, the game was axed "because of contact tracing issues within the Texas program."

It has not yet been decided if Texas (4-1) and Tennessee (3-1) would reschedule the non-conference game. 

The next game on UT's schedule is its Big 12 opener against Kansas on Thursday at the Erwin Center. Kansas, though, has already called off a nonconference game for Monday "due to injury and COVID-19 protocols within the KU women’s basketball program."

On Sunday, Texas did not elaborate on the contact tracing issues or specify how many athletes and coaches had been impacted. The Big 12's interruption guidelines, however, allow for teams to take the court if they have at least six unaffected players. Oklahoma only had six players available for its games this week against Kansas and Texas State.

On Friday, Texas coach Vic Schaefer said Oklahoma playing with only six players didn't seem safe. He said he had previously spoken with Baylor's Kim Mulkey and neither coach was in favor of those rules.

"It's a really tough place to put us as coaches and to put our players in," Schaefer said. "That's the rule and so we've got to figure out a way to navigate that."

Added Schaefer: "It's very difficult, especially the way we play and I know Kim was talking about the way they play. It really could put a stress on your team that particular night if you have to do that."

The schedule for UT's athletic department has been hit hard by coronavirus-related alterations. On Thursday, Texas announced that it had shut down its football program and canceled a trip to Kansas. The men's basketball team was set to play at Baylor on Sunday, but that game was postponed by the hosts.