The conference cancelled winter sports competition in October while leaving it up to individual schools to pursue non-conference games or games against other conference schools that decided to play.
On the men’s side, Wittenberg, Wooster, Ohio Wesleyan, Wabash, DePauw and Denison will play. Allegheny, Oberlin, Hiram and Kenyon are not. On the women’s side, Wittenberg, Denison, DePauw, Ohio Wesleyan, DePauw and Wooster will play, while Allegheny, Oberlin and Kenyon are not participating.
Teams will undergo COVID-19 testing on Mondays and Wednesdays during the week. Most games will take place on Thursday and Saturdays. Teams will play each other in back-to-back games.
The women’s team starts Feb. 12 with a home game against Ohio Wesleyan and play in Delaware the next day. Interim coach Valerie Driscoll will coach the team. She replaced Brian Neal, who was hired in May but left to take an assistant coaching job at Butler in December. Neal replaced Kelly Mahlum, who stepped down April 10 after four seasons to take the head coaching job at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn.
The Wittenberg men open the season at rival Wooster on Feb. 5 and play Wooster a day later in Springfield. The Tigers will prepare with a scrimmage Saturday against Ohio Wesleyan.
Wittenberg will rely heavily on newcomers, including seven freshmen and a transfer, because a number of players withdrew from school in December when they weren’t sure there was going to be a 2020-21 season. Those players plan to return to school and play a full season in 2021-22. Croci said only two or three players from last year’s rotation are playing in this shortened season.
“I think not just our Wittenberg athletes but college kids across the country are dealing with these heavy decisions,” Croci said. “Do I stay? Do I finish? Do I withdraw to save money? Do I use my extra year of eligibility? We certainly have a couple of starters and key rotational guys that are not in school right now because they need to save money. Everybody’s planning on being back next fall so I’m excited about that, and it does give an opportunity to our younger guys to kind of get some reps and be on the floor and let us develop them.”
Wittenberg men’s basketball schedule
Feb. 5, at Wooster, 7 p.m.
Feb. 6, vs. Wooster, 3 p.m.
Feb. 11, vs. Wabash, 6 p.m.
Feb. 13, at Wabash, 4 p.m.
Feb. 18, vs. Ohio Wesleyan, 7 p.m.
Feb. 20, at Ohio Wesleyan, 1 p.m.
Feb. 25, at DePauw, 7 p.m.
Feb. 27, vs. DePauw, 3 p.m.
Wittenberg women’s basketball schedule
Feb. 12, vs. Ohio Wesleyan, 7 p.m.
Feb. 13, at Ohio Wesleyan, 3 p.m.
Feb. 18, at DePauw, 6 p.m.
Feb. 20, vs. DePauw, 4 p.m.
Feb. 26, vs. Wooster, 6 p.m.
Feb. 27, at Wooster, 5 p.m.
March 5, vs. Denison 6 p.m.
March 6, at Denison, 4 p.m.