The Tennessee men's basketball program has returned multiple positive COVID-19 tests, among them head coach Rick Barnes, forcing the Vols to temporarily pause all team activities ahead of their scheduled season-opener on Wednesday against Charlotte. The status of that game -- and the multi-team event it is hosting -- is now in jeopardy.
Tennessee said Monday that the positive results were the product of a batch of routine testing conducted on Saturday afternoon, and it is planning to conduct retesting on Monday. Barnes is just one of the Tier 1 personnel who tested positive, and those who did have entered into isolation protocols.
Tennessee's game against Charlotte is part of a multi-team event it is hosting in Knoxville featuring VCU and Charlotte. An update on those games will be provided Tuesday, the program said, presumably after the results from Monday's tests are received.
Barnes is just the latest high-profile coach to have tested positive amid the worsening pandemic, joining Michigan State's Tom Izzo, Syracuse's Jim Boeheim and Baylor's Scott Drew. At least three coaches of preseason top-25 teams have been infected in recent months.
Barnes, 66, fields a preseason-ranked No. 12 Vols team that enters the year with lofty expectations. They welcome back leading scorer John Fulkerson as well as Yvones Pons and Santiago Vescovi, and enrolled a top-five recruiting class led by five-star guards Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson.