Penn State wrestling will continue to wait to get its already delayed 2021 season underway.
The Nittany Lions’ dual meet against Michigan State scheduled for Sunday at Rec Hall has been postponed, according to a statement from Penn State Athletics on Thursday night.
“The universities mutually agreed to the postponement out of an abundance of caution surrounding the health and safety of the student-athletes, coaches and staff,” the statement said. “The institutions will work with the Big Ten Conference to identify rescheduling options.”
Michigan State issued a similar statement, but neither school specified which program requested the postponement.
Presumably, the postponement is related to COVID-19, but it’s not clear which team is experiencing issues.
Penn State’s season-opener at Rutgers scheduled for Jan. 16 was postponed after the Nittany Lions “paused all team-related activities due to positive COVID-19 results among Tier 1 personnel,” on Jan. 13.
The team resumed practicing earlier this week.
During a media availability on Tuesday, Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said he was hopeful the team would get the season started on Sunday but acknowledged that the COVID-19 requirements could still throw a wrench into plans.
“I think obviously we’re planning on wrestling on Sunday. But yeah, we’re at the mercy of the tests. Hopefully we’ve gotten through the worst of it now as we start to get our student-athletes back,” he said.
“But, yeah, at any time, any program, under the rules, could be closed down. It’s a pretty low number, it’s like a 7½-percent positivity rate, so when you have a small roster it’s not difficult to get to that number.”
The Nittany Lions’ next scheduled match is Jan. 30 at Northwestern.
Penn State women’s volleyball also saw postponement of its season-opening series at Michigan scheduled for Friday and Saturday.
The program released a nearly identical statement to the wrestling announcement on Thursday night.
Again, the schools did not identify which made the request nor did they specify the nature of the health and safety concern.
Penn State women’s volleyball’s next match is currently scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday in Rec Hall.
In its weekly update on Wednesday, Penn State Athletics reported 16 COVID-19 positives among student-athletes out of 1,590 tests performed between Jan. 9-15.