Redshirt sophomore guard Wynston Tabbs, Boston College’s leading scorer this season, has entered the transfer portal after being suspended for the remainder of the season for violating the school’s COVID-19 protocols.
Tabbs’s suspension came in the wake of BC firing head coach Jim Christian, who pinned much of his hope on a successful season with Tabbs being healthy after missing almost two seasons recovering from surgery to replace cartilage in his left knee.
While Tabbs averaged 13.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in 27.2 points in a bounce-back season, his production didn’t translate into wins for the Eagles, who are sitting at 3-13 (1-9) in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Tabbs committed to returning this season, despite the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, by remaining on campus and rehabbing from the outset of the quarantine last March rather than returning to his hometown of Suitland, Md.
As part of re-opening campus last fall, BC required students to wear facemasks, maintain social distance, participate in surveillance testing, comply with contact tracers, and adhere to quarantine and isolation policies. Parties and gatherings weren’t allowed.
The nature of Tabbs’s violation was not specified, however, the Eagles dealt with a COVID outbreak in January that led to five games being postponed and are in the midst of another that has suspended the past two games. Tabbs was among the players who had to quarantine in January.
The Eagles are now left with the task of restoring stability to a program that’s come apart at the seams in a season played under the circumstances of the pandemic.
Christian was fired before the season ended as the Eagles were on their way to their sixth losing campaign in seven years. Despite signing a two-year extension in 2018, Christian came into the season a virtual lame duck after being brought back last year by athletic director Martin Jarmond as the administration was reluctant to make a coaching change in the early stages of the pandemic.
While Christian put together a roster he believed could compete in the ACC, it was inevitably depleted by COVID. The tipping point came earlier this month when only four scholarship players were available for a matchup with Florida State. While Christian was reluctant to play the game with such a thin roster, the administration wanted to forge ahead.
“They know my opinion,” Christian said on the ACC’s weekly Zoom conference with coaches. “It’s not easy to do. It’s a tough situation. I don’t think anybody in the county’s attempted to do that. I think nobody in our league has played a game with less than six players. In the other leagues you can’t.
“So it’s kind of a unique area, but it’s a grey area. Nobody’s to be at fault. It’s just kind of an interpretation thing. It’s just what it is and we’ve just got to do the best we can.”
Ultimately the game was postponed because Florida State had a player test positive, but the damage from the disagreement was done. Eagles athletic director Pat Kraft decided to move forward with assistant coach Scott Spinelli taking over as interim head coach while the search for the program’s next leader begins.
The Eagles have three games remaining this season.
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.