Thursday December 7, 2023

GW Hoops Navigates Heightened Security

  • GW basketball teams practiced on a campus protected by the National Guard.
  • When campus closed, the teams moved to Virginia to practice and play until the inauguration.
GW Athletics
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Last weekend, the George Washington men’s and women’s basketball teams moved off campus, which sits about two miles from the U.S. Capitol. 

They’ve since practiced and played at George Mason’s arena in Fairfax, and are living in a Virginia hotel. 

Since the Jan. 6 insurrection, the Colonials have proceeded under military-grade safety protocols and logistical concerns from the D.C. shutdown.

“None of us can predict what’s going to happen tomorrow, or the next day,” GW athletic director Tanya Vogel told FOS. “We just have to continue to prioritize safety.”

Preparing for a Protest

The D.C. school had contingency plans for riots prior to Election Day. Vogel said the athletic department created an online check-in system for Nov. 3 to ensure campus safety.

The system was useful again on Jan. 6, when people deemed “not part of the GW community” passed through campus on their way to the Capitol. 

  • When D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser instituted a 6 p.m. curfew, the athletic department canceled that night’s men’s basketball game against visiting UMass Amherst. Athletes felt “rattled,” Vogel said.
  • Staff used the check-in system to account for the 250 athletes quarantining on campus after winter break.

After Jan. 6, teams practiced under the protection of national guard members, until they moved to Virginia when the campus closed, Vogel said. 

What’s Next for GW

Vogel was the GW women’s soccer coach during the Sept. 11 attacks.

“On Sept. 12, we wondered, was it over? And Sept. 13, we wondered, was it over?” Vogel said. 

The immediate aftermath of the insurrection felt the same, Vogel said.

Both teams planned to return to “normalcy” on Jan. 21, after the inauguration, Vogel said. Though the men’s team paused competition on Jan. 19 due to a positive COVID-19 test.

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