Macron announces a new vaccine rule for people 65 or older in France.


President Emmanuel Macron of France announced the tightening of an anti-coronavirus measure on Tuesday, as virus cases kept rising across France and the rest of Europe.

In a televised speech, Mr. Macron called the trends worrying and urged people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus as soon as possible.

People over 65 years old, he said, will now have to get a booster shot to remain eligible for a vaccine “passport” that is required to gain access to restaurants, museums, long-distance trains and other public places. The new rule takes effect Dec. 15.

In addition, Mr. Macron said, people ages 50 to 64 will be eligible for a booster shot beginning in December. He did not link the passport to the booster shot for this age group.

France already has a fairly high vaccination rate, with 69 percent of its population fully vaccinated. Even so, reports of new Covid-19 cases have been increasing in recent weeks, as have hospital admissions, which Mr. Macron called an alarm signal.

“Vaccinate yourself so that you can lead a normal life,” Mr. Macron implored those who had still not gotten a single shot. “Being free in a nation like France entails being responsible and showing solidarity. I’m therefore counting on you.”

Hospitals are reporting an average of 40 Covid-related deaths a day. That has risen 60 percent in a week, though it remains only one-tenth of the figure seen a year ago, when no vaccines were available.

France is the latest European country to experience a resurgence in the virus. Germany set a record this month for new cases reported in a day, and Britain is in the middle of a surge, three months after all restrictions were lifted.

The World Health Organization warned last week that Europe was back at the epicenter of the pandemic and that half a million people on the continent could die from Covid in the next few months.



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U.S. News Announces the 2022 Best Cruise Lines


WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — U.S. News & World Report, publisher of Best Hotels, Best Vacations and Best Travel Rewards Programs, today announced the 2022 Best Cruise Lines rankings, designed to provide up-to-date information on the leading cruise lines.

With much of the world reopening to international travel, U.S. News surveyed travelers to understand the effects of COVID-19 on cruiser sentiments. U.S. News unveiled the survey results at the Seatrade Global Conference in October which found that cruisers – both first-time and longtime – are booked at higher levels than before the pandemic. U.S. News survey data also revealed that of the frequent travelers who indicated that they would cruise again, 20% are already signed up for their next sailing. 

“Though most avenues of travel have been impacted throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the cruise industry has seen the most challenges,” said Nicola Wood, travel editor at U.S. News. “U.S. News is excited to once again highlight the leading cruise lines and provide in-depth information on ships, onboard activities and itineraries to travelers looking to research and book a cruise vacation.”

Celebrity Cruises takes the No. 1 spot as the Best Cruise Line for the Money. Viking Ocean Cruises is the No. 1 Best Cruise Line for Couples and Best Luxury Cruise Line thanks to its adult-focused environment and luxurious and romantic amenities, such as fireplaces in each ship’s common area and private verandas in every stateroom.

Disney Cruise Line, which offers ships tailored specifically to children and families, has remained the No. 1 Best Cruise Line for Families since U.S. News began ranking cruise lines. Additionally, for the eighth  consecutive year, Disney is also the No. 1 Best Cruise Line in the Caribbean. Viking Ocean Cruises takes the spot of No. 1 Best Cruise Line in the Mediterranean for 2022.

The rankings help travelers select the best cruise by brand, region, traveler type and budget. This year’s rankings are accompanied by an editorial rundown of the most popular river cruise lines for those looking for guidance on a different type of cruise that still offers itineraries with multiple destinations.

The methodology for the Best Cruise Lines rankings factors in expert evaluations of cruise ship quality, reputation among travelers, results from health assessments conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other factors, such as price class and itinerary offerings.

2022 U.S. News Best Cruise Lines Rankings

For the Money                                                                                      

  1. Celebrity Cruises
  2. Holland America Line
  3. Royal Caribbean International

For Luxury

  1. Viking Ocean Cruises
  2. Seabourn Cruise Line
  3. Regent Seven Seas Cruises

For Families 

  1. Disney Cruise Line
  2. Royal Caribbean International
  3. Carnival Cruise Line                                                                              

For Couples

  1. Viking Ocean Cruises
  2. Seabourn Cruise Line
  3. Azamara

In the Mediterranean    

  1. Viking Ocean Cruises
  2. Seabourn Cruise Line
  3. Azamara                                                                         

In the Caribbean

  1. Disney Cruise Line
  2. Celebrity Cruises
  3. Seabourn Cruise Line

To share your thoughts about the Best Cruise Lines rankings, visit Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #BestCruises.

About U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is the global leader in quality rankings that empower citizens, consumers, business leaders and policy officials to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. A multifaceted digital media company with Education, Health, Money, Travel, Cars, News and 360 Reviews platforms, U.S. News provides rankings, independent reporting, data journalism, consumer advice and U.S. News Live events. More than 40 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

SOURCE U.S. News & World Report





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Cook Islands announces two-way quarantine-free travel with NZ


The Cook Islands government has announced two-way quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and the Cook Islands will resume in January 2022.

Travelling during covid-19 pandemic. New Zealand passport and protective mask on black suitcase

Photo: 123rf.com

This announcement means the Cook Islands will be the only country that people in New Zealand can travel to and from for a holiday, without any quarantine or isolation from 14 January 2022.

However some families will be unable to make the trip all together, with children under the age of 12 not permitted to travel until the New Zealand government receives approval to vaccinate children between 5-11 years old.

Travellers will be required to take a Covid-19 test no more than 72 hours before departing and provide evidence of a negative test results both on departure and arrival in New Zealand. No test will be required upon arrival in the Cook Islands.

New Zealanders will be able to travel from the main island of Rarotonga to the island of Aitutaki, with the only requirement being that travellers undergo a Rapid Antigen Test before boarding their flight to Aitutaki. A further test may be required on Aitutaki.

Cook Islands Tourism general manager Graeme West said the Cook Islands was very fortunate to have remained Covid-19 free so far.

He said the Cook Islands government has prioritised the health and wellbeing of its residents and visitors throughout the pandemic. More than 96 percent of its eligible population are fully vaccinated.

“We were open for just three months from May to August this year until the current Delta outbreak in New Zealand meant that the border had to be closed. We are absolutely delighted that we can safely welcome fully vaccinated visitors from New Zealand back again very soon.”

To assist with contact tracing in the Cook Islands, Travellers will be required to complete a Cook Islands contact form 72 hours before departing New Zealand and also use the Pacific nation’s own app-based contact tracing system.

The travel corridor is exclusively open between New Zealand and the Cook Islands, and the Cook Islands maritime border will remain closed.

The Cook Islands government said full details will become available on their tourism website over the next few weeks.



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Longwood Announces Willett Hall Attendance Policies for 2021-22


Longwood Announces Willett Hall Attendance Policies for 2021-22



Men’s Basketball
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FARMVILLE, Va. – Longwood University has announced indoor attendance policies for the upcoming men’s and women’s basketball seasons in Willett Hall.
 
All attendees must adhere to Longwood University’s campus-wide health policies that are aligned with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Virginia Department of Health (VDH).
 
The only exceptions to those policies are for individuals classified by the NCAA as “Tier 1,” which includes competing student-athletes, coaches, and close-contact support staff such as athletic trainers. All Tier 1 personnel are subject to routine testing and monitoring under NCAA protocols.
 
The Longwood athletics indoor attendance policy requires all non-Tier 1 individuals – regardless of vaccination status – to wear face coverings inside all Longwood indoor public spaces, including Willett Hall. Acceptable face coverings should: fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face; completely cover the nose and mouth’ be secured with ties or ear loops; include multiple players of fabric; allow for breathing without restriction; and be washable or machine dried without damage or change to shape.
 
Face coverings are not required in outdoor settings on campus; however, the CDC recommends that non-vaccinated people should consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings, and that fully vaccinated people may also choose to do so.
 
Additionally, those experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should not attend Longwood athletics contests, nor travel to campus. As outlined by the CDC, those symptoms include fever or chills, coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, loss of taste or smell, runny nose, and sore throat.

Longwood University’s complete COVID-19 policies are available at www.longwood.edu/covid19/. Longwood’s indoor and outdoor fan attendance policies are subject to change as Longwood University continues to review public health guidance and conditions over the course of the season.

 

Longwood men’s and women’s basketball will tip off the 2021-22 season with a doubleheader on Nov. 12 in Willett Hall, which begins with the women’s team’s home opener against Stony Brook at noon and continues with the men’s team’s follow-up against Virginia University of Lynchburg at 7 p.m. Season tickets for both the men’s and women’s home games, as well as a special “Family 4-Pack,” are available for purchase at www.LongwoodTickets.com

 

#HorsePower

 



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Gov. Justice announces West Virginia named top 10 global travel destination




CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice today announced that West Virginia was named a Top Travel Region to visit in 2022 by Lonely Planet, as a part of its annual Best in Travel awards. West Virginia, the only state in the country selected, joins a first-class group of international destinations.

“West Virginia is on a roll. I’ve been saying since my first day in office that we have to tell our state’s story, and we’re doing just that and it’s working,” Gov. Justice said. “West Virginia is a world-class, four-season travel destination, and thanks to this announcement, travelers around the world will be adding the Mountain State to their travel bucket list for 2022. I’d like to thank the Lonely Planet team for this designation and all they do to promote and support travel and tourism.”

West Virginia joins a star-studded lineup of global destinations, like Westfjords, Iceland; Scenic Rim, Australia; Vancouver Island, Canada; and Burgundy, France, in the category for Best Travel Region 2022.

This year’s award recipients were selected from a Best in Travel survey shared across the Lonely Planet team, including every staff member, more than 200 travel writers, bloggers, publishing partners and more – who all shared their top travel destinations for the coming year. 

The list was then paired down and sent to a panel of five travel experts. Each destination was judged based on several factors, including its readiness to accept return visitation in 2022 and the judges’ excitement to travel there.

Lonely Planet says “2022 is the perfect time to discover West Virginia, a still-uncrowded region with unspoiled mountains and unmistakable heritage where the leisurely tempo of Southern small towns converges with the adrenaline sports that attract adventurers from across the continent.”

As a part of this designation, West Virginia will receive a featured write-up in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2022 book, as well as online content. This announcement has the potential to reach hundreds of millions of travelers and share with them the best of Almost Heaven, West Virginia as they plan their trips next year.

“This is such an honor for West Virginia. Governor Justice has been a true visionary for our state’s tourism industry, and I appreciate all of the time he has poured into big, bold ideas to tell our state’s story,” said Chelsea Ruby, Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Tourism. “West Virginia is an incredible four-season travel destination, and we can’t wait to welcome new visitors as they plan their trips to the Best in Travel destinations for 2022.”

To access this year’s Best in Travel 2022, click here. Photos and b-roll of West Virginia, credited to the West Virginia Department of Tourism, can be found here (link).





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Royal Caribbean Announces Amazing 274-Day World Cruise For 2023


Cruise enthusiasts, mark your calendars! Royal Caribbean International announced Thursday the debut of the inaugural Ultimate World Cruise, an epic 274-night round-the-world sailing that will visit all seven continents, more than 150 destinations in 65 countries, and 11 great wonders of the world. It begins in Miami on December 10, 2023, and continues through September 10, 2024.

The journey on the Serenade of the Seas is Royal Caribbean’s first foray into the arena of world cruises and will be the longest and most comprehensive world cruise ever undertaken, according to the company’s press release.

“This is the world cruise of world cruises,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International, when describing the itinerary. “Now more than ever, people have resolved to travel the world and make up for lost time. Royal Caribbean is making that a reality with the ultimate vacation.”

The cost for the entire cruise starts at $60,999 per person, plus taxes and other fees. Passengers who book the sail and pay in full by January 6, 2023, will receive a 10 percent discount. The price also includes business class air and other perks, plus accommodations at the InterContinental Miami hotel prior to departure, a Royal spokeswoman said.

Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society Diamond status members and above can book the full cruise exclusively now by phone through October 26. Members who book will also receive a bonus Seven New World Wonders shore excursion package. They’ll also receive other perks, including a Deluxe Beverage package, VOOM Wi-Fi, laundry service, and more. Bookings will open to all others one week later on October 27 and for the individual segments in December. The segments, or “expeditions” as the cruise line calls them, are divided into four distinct itineraries:

Round The Horn: Americas And Antarctica Expedition

Dec. 10, 2023–Feb. 11, 2024

Three continents, 36 destinations, four wonders. It includes Caribbean destinations like the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao) — before heading to Antarctica and around Cape Horn. Some of the world’s stunning wonders along the way are Chichen Itza in Cozumel, Mexico; Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, where guests celebrate New Year’s Eve; and the largest waterfall system on the planet, Iguazu Falls near Buenos Aires, Argentina. Lastly, Machu Picchu awaits in Peru.

Wonders of Asia And The Pacific Expedition

Feb. 11–May 9, 2024

Three continents, 40 destinations, three wonders. Guests will venture miles from the ordinary in Oceania, Asia, and discover the beauty and adventure throughout the Hawaiian Islands before sailing south to Moorea and Tahiti, French Polynesia. The thrills continue with an exploration of New Zealand before traveling to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Pristine natural beauty in Bali, Indonesia, is soon followed by two of the most iconic manmade world wonders, the Great Wall of China and India’s Taj Mahal, and gems of the South Pacific from Vietnam to Malaysia. Rounding out the expedition is Japan, with unparalleled culture in Tokyo, Osaka, and Okinawa.

Middle East Treasures And Marvels Of The Med Expedition

May 9–July 10, 2024

Three continents, 44 destinations, four wonders. This expedition begins in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Adventurers uncover ancient sites and more world wonders from the times of emperors and pharaohs, like Jordan’s lost city of Petra, the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, Turkey, and the Colosseum in Rome. There are also less-traveled places to explore, such as Greece’s Olympia. The journey continues to more destinations known for their storied histories — Split, Croatia, and Cannes and Provence in France.

Capitals Of Culture

July 10–Sept. 10, 2024

Three continents, 40 destinations. The final leg of the Ultimate World Cruise begins in the Mediterranean and heads north to discover Barcelona and savor new flavors across continents — such as lunch in a Parisian bistro and a dinner of tagine and mint tea in Morocco. Museums, theaters, and galleries in St. Petersburg, Russia, give way to fjords in Norway. Guests can reflect on their epic voyage in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland before visiting New York on their way back to Miami.

Guests interested in booking the trip can call Royal Caribbean’s dedicated line for the Ultimate World Cruise at (800) 423-2100 (U.S. toll free) or contact their travel advisor.

Also, be sure to check out all of our travel news and cruise coverage.



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Ida victims begin to receive trailers three weeks after state announces recovery program


BATON ROUGE — The state managed Hurricane Ida Sheltering Program continues to help those affected by the storm to get placed in travel trailers as part of their recovery, according to the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

So far, 21 travel trailers have been placed across St. James, St. Charles and Terrebonne Parishes.

Governor John Bel Edwards announced the program three weeks ago as a bridge to help families receive the units ahead of the window FEMA projected to start its Direct Housing mission.

GOHSEP was tasked with developing the program, purchasing the trailers, establishing staging areas and priority zones with leaders from the impacted parishes and installing the units. The first families received their units within two weeks of the new program being announced. The speed of installation work is expected to increase as the program grows.

Another 61 units have been deployed to sites to begin the installation process in five of the parishes hardest hit by Ida. The total number of travel trailers transported to staging areas at Blue Bayou Water Park and the Houma Civic Center has climbed to 476. 1,300 trailers have been purchased by the state.

The deployment and installation work will be similar to other recovery programs, meaning contractors will mostly focus on one region at a time to make the program faster and to cut down on travel time for work crews. Group sites are also being developed at RV and mobile home park locations to meet the needs for renters or others.

“Governor Edwards and those of us at GOHSEP recognized the need to help bridge the shelter and housing needs. We appreciate FEMA allowing us this opportunity to take this step ahead of the ramp up for its Direct Housing program,” said GOHSEP Acting Director Casey Tingle. “Housing issues are typically some of the most difficult and frustrating part of recovery. Any new resource that can be used like this first-of-its kind shelter mission involving trailers will help the state with this event and possibly future events. I appreciate the hard work of our GOHSEP staff, our parish partners and contractors in getting the initial steps resolved so quickly. It is the goal of everyone involved to make this program a success, because it means we have given hurricane survivors the help they need. It’s also important to point out that more traditional shelter operations continue in most of the impacted areas for those waiting on the state or federal programs.”

The Hurricane Ida Sheltering Program offers non-congregate sheltering, which is different from traditional sheltering options to provide a living space that offers some level of privacy. Sheltering options may include hotels, base camps, crew barges or recreational vehicles (RVs), including travel trailers that typically hitch to an existing vehicle. While this program is funded through FEMA, it is run entirely by the state.

To register for the program or find out what sheltering options are available in affected parishes visit IdaShelteringla.com [gov.louisiana.gov] or call (844) 268-0301 or for TTY services call (844) 458-1806.

Residents can check the availability of shelters in their areas by texting LAShelter to 898211 or dial 211 to locate a shelter or by visiting www.getagameplan.org.  [gov.louisiana.gov]

Find more tips on weather and preparedness on GOHSEP’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Listen to conversations on all aspects of emergency management by downloading GOHSEP’s The Get A Game Plan Podcast. You can receive emergency alerts on most smartphones and tablets by downloading the new Alert FM App.  It is free for basic service.  The Get A Game Plan App is another resource available to help you and your family prepare for any type of emergency. You can download the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide and find other information at www.getagameplan.org.

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Royal Caribbean announces a 274-night cruise around the world that costs over $60k


Royal Caribbean is launching a 274-night “Ultimate World Cruise,” touting it as the world’s longest cruise journey.

The cruise line announced Wednesday that the voyage was “the longest and most comprehensive world cruise out there” and will visit over 150 destinations throughout seven continents in 65 countries, including China, Brazil and Morocco.

Some of the destinations the “Ultimate World Cruise” will visit include the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Iguazu Falls in Argentina, Antarctica, the Great Wall of China and even Casablanca in Morocco, according to Royal Caribbean.

Prices start at $61,000 and the cruise’s inaugural voyage departs from Miami on Dec. 10, 2023, and will return to Miami on Sept. 10, 2024.

Passengers will travel on the luxury ship “The Serenade of the Seas,” which includes a rock-climbing wall, mini-golf course, arcade, theater, spa, pool and 13 decks to fit nearly 2,500 passengers and 800 crew.

The cheapest accommodations aboard the ship are the interior state rooms, which start at $61,000 per person. If you want an ocean-view state room, prices climb up to $65,000 and $79,000 for those who want a balcony, according to Royal Caribbean’s website.

For those looking for a little more luxury, a stay in a junior suite costs $112,000 per person.

The cruise liner said passengers will get a 10% discount if they pay in full by Jan. 6, 2023.

The “Ultimate World Cruise” voyage is being split into four parts: “the Americas and Antarctica, Asia and the Pacific, the Middle East and the Mediterranean, and Northern Europe.”

Passengers will eventually be able to book these segments individually starting in December, when prices for the individual segments will be announced, rather than taking the full nine-month cruise.

Bookings are available now for high-status Royal Caribbean members and to the general public Oct. 27.

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Katherine Rodriguez can be reached at [email protected]. Have a tip? Tell us at nj.com/tips.



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WVU Set for Three ESPNU Games, Announces Home Television Schedule


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Big 12 Conference have announced that three women’s basketball contests will be broadcast on ESPNU during the 2021-22 season.
 
ESPNU is set to broadcast WVU’s Big 12 Conference opener this year on Sunday, Jan. 2, when the Mountaineers travel to Ames, Iowa, to take on Iowa State inside Hilton Coliseum. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. ET.
 
West Virginia’s next ESPNU game is set for Sunday, Feb. 20, when WVU welcomes Texas to Morgantown, for a 12 p.m., start at the WVU Coliseum. A week later, on Sunday, Feb. 27, the Mountaineers game against Oklahoma State in Morgantown also will be carried on the network. Tip-off against the Cowgirls is scheduled for 1 p.m.
 
Additionally, all WVU women’s basketball home games, not broadcast on ESPNU, will be carried on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. For more information on how to sign up for ESPN+, fans can visit WVUsports.com/Big12Now.
 
The Mountaineers’ contest at Kentucky on Wednesday, Dec. 1, in the 2021 Big 12/SEC Challenge also will be available on ESPN+, as part of the SEC Network+ package. Game times and broadcast information for WVU’s road and neutral-site contests will be announced at a later date.
 
To order 2021-22 women’s basketball season tickets, visit WVUGAME.com or call 1-800-WVU GAME. Single-game tickets will go on sale at a later date.
 



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Women’s Basketball Announces 2021-22 Non-Conference Schedule


ATHENS, Ohio — The Ohio women’s basketball team released the remainder of their 2021-22 schedule, head coach Bob Boldon announced today (Oct. 4). The Bobcats will play four road non-conference games, three home contests, and will also participate in neutral site event, the FIU Holiday Hoops Showdown, in late December. The Mid-American Conference schedule will consist of 20 games, evenly split between home and away contests. 

The Bobcats will start the season with three games on the road, tipping off the 2021-22 campaign at Notre Dame on Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. Ohio are 1-1 all time against the Fighting Irish, including a 86-85 victory inside the Convocation Center last November. Ohio then travels to Lynchburg, Va., to match up against Liberty on Saturday, Nov. 13, with tip scheduled for 7 p.m. It will be the second all-time meeting between the two teams. In the first meeting between the two teams, Ohio defeated the Lady Flames, 76-72. The third and final game of the opening road trip will take Ohio to Cincinnati, Ohio., with the Bobcats scheduled to play the Cincinnati Bearcats on Tuesday, Nov. 16. Tip-off time is still yet to be determined.

Ohio will then play three straight games at home, starting with welcoming Mercyhurst to the Convo on Saturday, Nov. 20 for the Bobcats regular season home opener. Ohio will then have nine days off before their next game, when they take on Florida A&M on Monday, Nov. 29. The first game in the month of December, and the final home non-conference contest, will take place on Saturday, Dec. 4 as Ohio takes on the Richmond Spiders. 

The Bobcats will play one final road non-conference game on Wednesday, Dec. 15 when they travel to Minneapolis, Minn. to play the Minnesota Golden Gophers, before heading south to participate in the FIU Holiday Hoops Showdown on Dec. 20 and 21. The first game for the Bobcats will be against UMass-Lowell, followed by a matchup with Binghamton University. 

Ohio will then start conference play at Miami on Dec. 29. The MAC home opener will be played on Jan. 1, when the Bobcats take on Eastern Michigan. A previously announced conference schedule release is available here.

#OUohyeah

 



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