A Division I college basketball team has decided to end its season with about a month left to play.

On Saturday morning, the Maine basketball team announced that it would be opting out of the remainder of the season. The Black Bears had not been cleared to play since Jan. 17 due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns. Maine had not played a game in nearly a month.

The school released a statement on the decision. From Maine’s website:

“For the last several months, our athletic administrators, especially Director of Athletics Ken Ralph, and our training staff, especially Ryan Taylor and Bryan Schopieray, have all worked tirelessly to give us the opportunity to compete,” head coach Richard Barron said. “In addition, many others on our campus from team physicians to our Emergency Operations Center members have also worked very hard to allow for us to play. I want to thank everyone for their efforts. Despite the outcome, those efforts were worth it and gave us a chance to pursue our passion. We are all grateful.”

“Our players’ safety and well-being will always come first,” said Barron. “We simply could not safely put a team on the floor over the next few weeks or safely return players to playing after over six weeks off. Despite the challenges we’ve faced this year, we remain grateful for the opportunities we have here at UMaine and eagerly look forward to representing Black Bear Nation again soon.”

“I am so proud of all of our Black Bears and absolutely support the decision made by the members of the men’s basketball program to conclude their season,” said President Ferrini-Mundy.  “Athletics at UMaine will always be about more than just wins and losses. Our Black Bears have inspired us all with how hard they have practiced and prepared for competition at the highest level while maturely contending with pandemic-related protocols and uncertainty.”

Maine played just 9 games during the 2020-21 season and owned a 2-7 record with a 2-6 mark in America East play. The team saw multiple games postponed or canceled throughout the year due to the pandemic.