Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Digest: No Puerto Rico Trip for Mizzou Basketball Team

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Digest: No Puerto Rico Trip for Mizzou Basketball Team

Article excerpt

Mizzou basketball's trip to Puerto Rico is off

Cancel that trip to Puerto Rico, Missouri basketball fans. Because of health concerns related to the Zika virus, the Puerto Rico Tip-Off is being moved to Orlando, Fla.

Missouri is part of the eight-team field and was set to open tournament play in San Juan on Nov. 17 against Xavier.

The tournament will be moved to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.

"We enjoy the beauty and accommodations that are afforded in Puerto Rico and wanted to make every effort in playing the event in San Juan, but the concern for student-athlete and spectator welfare became the primary driver in the decision," said Pete Derzis, senior vice president of ESPN Events. "We intend to return to Puerto Rico in the future."

Missouri's opponent Nov. 18 will be Clemson or Davidson depending on the outcome of first-round games. Also in the field are Arizona State, Oklahoma, Northern Iowa and Tulane. The third day of games will be Nov. 20.

"The health and safety of our student-athletes, staff and fans is the most important factor behind this decision," Mizzou coach Kim Anderson said. "While we are disappointed we won't be going to Puerto Rico, we are excited that ESPN has arranged for us to play at Walt Disney World, an outstanding venue. Orlando will undoubtedly be a great host for our traveling Mizzou fans, and we are looking forward to the challenge that this tournament presents."

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company responded to the change in venue with a statement from its executive director, Ingrid Rivera Rocafort, that read in part: "We are disappointed about this decision that we believe has been based on fear, not the facts about Puerto Rico. With all the steps that we have taken to address the mosquito population and aggressive Zika education ... we firmly believe the teams would have been safe in our accommodations and our indoor and air conditioned sports facilities, enabling them to have a worry-free experience in November on the island." (Dave Matter)

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