College basketball: No fans at Catawba games

Published 9:51 pm Monday, November 9, 2020

By Mike London

SALISBURY — Local basketball fans received disappointing news on Monday.

Catawba College announced that due to the current state and local pandemic guidelines, the college will not permit outside attendance at home events.

Catawba’s basketball teams are scheduled to open their seasons at home against South Atlantic Conference rival Anderson on Saturday, Nov. 21.

“In consideration of both the governor’s orders and the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes and game staff personnel, we have decided to not allow fans at this time,” Catawba AD Larry Leckonby said in a news release.

Catawba’s women were picked third and the men fifth in the recent South Atlantic Conference preseason polls.

Men’s coach Rob Perron has a mostly new roster, but the program has added a potentially terrific group of transfers and recruits. Terrence Whitfield and Larry McLeod are returning standouts to lean on and build around. Catawba was 20-10 and qualified for the Southeast Regional in 2019-20. That regional was canceled in the early stages of the pandemic.

Heading into his first full season as head coach,  Terence McCutcheon has an experienced women’s roster headlined by seniors Taisha DeShazo, Shemya Stanback and Talia Barnes and sophomore Lyrik Thorne. Catawba was 23-6 a year ago and lost only one home game.

The Post plans to cover most of Catawba’s home basketball games and will provide live updates. Games also will be streamed on the school’s website and will be broadcast on Memories 1280 AM.

Livingstone’s basketball season isn’t scheduled to start until January. The NCHSAA also plans to start basketball in January.

Swimming recently broke the ice on Catawba’s return to athletics after eight dormant months, but no fans will be allowed at home swim meets.

Catawba will continue to monitor guidelines that could change the “no fans” policy as the season progresses.