Early Saturday morning, the NCAA announced that the NC State baseball team was out of the 2021 Men's College World Series because of COVID-19 protocols. Vanderbilt, who was scheduled to play a decisive game against NC State on Saturday, will advance to the best-of-three finals to face either Texas or Mississippi State. Saturday's scheduled game between NC State and Vanderbilt has been ruled a no-contest by the NCAA.
"The NCAA Division I Baseball Committee has declared the Vanderbilt-NC State Men's College World Series game scheduled for Saturday, June 26 at 1 p.m. Central time a no-contest because of COVID-19 protocols.
"This decision was made based on the recommendation of the Championship medical team and the Douglas County Health Department. As a result, Vanderbilt will advance to the CWS finals.
"The NCAA and the Committee regret that NC State's student-athletes and coaching staff will not be able to continue in the Championship in which they earned the right to participate. Because of privacy issues, we cannot provide further details."
This was NC State's third appearance in the College World Series, and they will depart Omaha still in search of their first national title.
NC State because of those COVID protocols played their Friday game against Vanderbilt, which they lost by a score of 3-1, with just 13 players available -- nine position players and four pitchers. The game was initially delayed, and then the Wolfpack roster took a major hit when several NC State players were placed in protocol. NC State had been 2-0 in the 2021 College World Series and in strong position to advance to the finals before Friday's loss.
Aaron Fitt of D1Baseball.com reported on what prompted the NCAA's shocking decision to eliminate NC State prior to Saturday's scheduled game:
"According to multiple sources, two unvaccinated NC State players tested positive for COVID-19 this week, prompting the NCAA to test the entire roster, including vaccinated players. Four positive tests came back from that round of testing, prompting the no-contest ruling. All four of the latest positive tests came from vaccinated individuals who were in the dugout for Friday's game against Vanderbilt, per multiple sources."
The winner of Saturday's Texas-Mississippi State will advance to face Vanderbilt in the finals that begins Monday night at Omaha's TD Ameritrade Park. Vanderbilt enters the final series as the defending champion. Vanderbilt won their second national title in 2019, and the 2020 College World Series was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.