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Drake-UNI men's basketball game at MVC tourney canceled

The Bulldogs will play the winner of Friday night's Missouri State vs. Valparaiso game.
Credit: AP
Drake head coach Darian DeVries directs his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Loyola of Chicago, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021, in Des Moines, Iowa. Drake won 51-50 in overtime. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

ST. LOUIS — Friday night's Arch Madness matchup between Drake and Northern Iowa has been canceled, the Missouri Valley Conference announced a half-hour after the game's scheduled tipoff time.

The reason for the cancellation was not immediately released, but Drake men's basketball play-by-play announcer Michael Admire cited "COVID protocols within the UNI program."

Later Friday night, MVC released a statement confirming COVID was to blame. The statement says a positive test was found among the UNI Tier 1 personnel, which consists of student-athletes, coaches, managers and staff. 

According to the statement from Commissioner Doug Elgin, the City of St. Louis and the Conference had a miscommunication over COVID protocols. His full statement is as follows: 

"UNI and other institutions ultimately relied on Conference policies that have been in place all season and were thought to be applicable here at the tournament. It should be noted UNI followed those procedures during their participation in the event.

However, the City of St. Louis Board of Health Department COVID orders take precedence over MVC protocols, and none of our institutions were aware that this was in place. In all prior communication we had with St. Louis' local health authorities, we had clearly indicated that the MVC adhered to CDC guidelines and NCAA Resocialization Guidelines.

The MVC did not have the necessary conversations with local health officials to clarify that the administration of the tournament would be governed by St. Louis Health Commissioner's COVID orders. I apologize and take full responsibility for not resolving the administration of policies that are in place during this year's tournament."

The Bulldogs are the 2-seed at the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. UNI, the 7-seed, beat Illinois State (10) 65-60 on Thursday. 

A Jan. 21 Drake vs. UNI game was postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests within the Drake staff, but the Bulldogs beat the Panthers 80-59 on Feb. 10 and 77-69 on Feb. 17.

The Bulldogs will play the winner of Missouri State (3) vs. Valparaiso (6) game, which tips off at 8:08 p.m. Friday.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available. Download the We Are Iowa app or subscribe to Local 5's "5 Things to Know" email newsletter for the latest news.

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