A neutral-site game between women's basketball powerhouses Louisville and UConn will not take place this season because of concerns about how potential coronavirus restrictions could affect attendance, according to Louisville coach Jeff Walz.
Walz spoke to the media Wednesday via a teleconference and was asked whether the financial implications of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic were influencing his scheduling decisions for the upcoming season. He noted his non-conference schedule was complete but that a game against former ACC rival UConn in the New York City area had recently been postponed.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week announced that pro sports leagues could soon begin their seasons without fans, while New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in late April that he could see fans returning to sporting events in that city by late summer only in "better-case scenarios."
Walz suggested that general uncertainty about attendance at sporting events in the region played a significant role in scuttling the early-season game against UConn.
"That's one thing that was talked to me about, was just because of what's going on right now it was probably going to be difficult to be able to get much of a crowd in there right now," Walz said. "So instead of just doing a wait and see, I think we have agreed to push it back for a year. We'll hopefully get it worked out for next year and be able to get that up and going again."
A UConn spokesperson said the school does not comment on scheduling when there is not a signed contract, and it did not have such a contract for Louisville for the upcoming season.
The two programs met regularly when both were in the ACC and played for the national championship in 2013, UConn winning 93-60 to capture its eighth title.
They last met during the 2018-19 season, Louisville winning at home with both teams ranked in the top three at the time. UConn holds an 18-2 lead in the series.
Walz also said that what he originally hoped would be a four-team tournament in Gary, Indiana, involving another Power 5 program had been reduced to a single game against Valparaiso.
"Unfortunately with the COVID virus, what went on, it's cut a lot of options out for the tournament directors," Walz said.
He noted that at this time his program's only non-conference game that will require a flight is against TCU in Texas.