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Vols head coach Rick Barnes doesn't hold back on his thoughts about Tennessee-Memphis cancellation

"We're not going to schedule a team that has that many unvaccinated players, "Barnes said on Monday Tennessee will not reschedule the Memphis game.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee men's basketball head coach Rick Barnes didn't hold back on his thoughts over the Vols' game that was canceled on Saturday against Memphis.

The game was called off due to COVID-19 protocols within the Tigers program. Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway said on Sunday the team only had four available players for the game against Tennessee.

When Barnes was asked if they will reschedule this game later this season, he was blunt.

"We're not going to schedule a team that has that many unvaccinated players, "Barnes said. "That would be irresponsible on our part, it could happen again."

Barnes said the program spent approximately $30,000 to make this game happen. It was called off about an hour before the scheduled tip-off time.

"Obviously we don't want to do that, but the worst part is our fans," he said. "As bad as I feel for our players, I feel worse for our fans."

Barnes did not agree with Memphis's decision to not play the game even with their limited roster.

"If we had seven guys, we would get someone out of the student body if we had to (to play) because I think it's the right thing to do for fans," he said.

According to Barnes, 15 of the 17 players on the team are vaccinated, which includes all rotational players. A walk-on and a redshirt player are not vaccinated. 

The Vols play again on Wednesday when sixth-ranked Arizona comes to Thompson Boling Arena for the top 25 matchup. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.


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