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Robert Morris Basketball

Breaking: Official That Worked NEC Championship at RMU Tests Positive for Coronavirus



MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — According to a source with direct knowledge of the situation, Pittsburgh Sports Now has learned that one member of the officiating crew that called the Northeast Conference men’s tournament championship between Robert Morris and Saint Francis has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Robert Morris defeated the Red Flash, 78-68, at UPMC Events Center on March 10.

On Tuesday evening, Robert Morris University sent a mass email to faculty and staff informing them of the positive COVID-19 test result. Representatives from the athletic department are reaching out to players, coaches, staff and media members who were present at the arena for precautionary measures.

One day following the NEC championship, each of the three referees who called the game — Donnie Eppley, Earl Walton and Michael Palau — officiated conference tournament games on March 11. Eppley called Indiana-Nebraska in the Big 10 tournament in Indianapolis, Earl Walton called Boston University-Colgate in the Patriot League final in Hamilton, New York and Palau called Siena-Manhattan in the MAAC quarterfinals in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The identity of the official and his condition have not been made public.

UPDATE, 8:20 p.m:

Robert Morris University statement from spokesperson Jonathan Potts:

“Robert Morris University was notified by the Northeast Conference tonight (March 17) that an official who worked the March 10 NEC men’s basketball championship at the UPMC Events Center had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. As soon as the university learned this, we followed clinical protocols provided by the UPMC team physician for notifying those who may have come into contact with the official. We have been advised that they are at low risk of infection. Out of an abundance of caution we are notifying all students, faculty, and staff.”

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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