The season opener scheduled for Saturday between California and Washington was canceled following a request from the Golden Bears due to a positive coronavirus test for one of their players.
California does not have “the minimum number of scholarship players available for the game as a result of a positive football student-athlete COVID-19 case and resulting isolation of additional football student-athletes under contact tracing protocols,” the Pac-12 said in a statement Thursday.
Pac-12 guidelines require at least 53 scholarship players to be available for a game to be played. The conference said the game would be declared a no-contest.
“Our students, coaches and staff have put in an incredible amount of hard work to get to this point and we are deeply disappointed they won’t have the opportunity to compete Saturday in Berkeley,” Washington athletic director Jennifer Cohen said in a statement.
About an hour before the announcement from the conference, Washington coach Jimmy Lake had said the team was still preparing as if the game was going to be played.
“We had a big-time practice today,” Lake said. “The guys are dialed in, they’re juiced, and you could just see it in their eyes.”
California coach Justin Wilcox had said Wednesday night that the game was in jeopardy because of the large number of players needing contact tracing. California said the player with a positive test is asymptomatic. He took his regular daily antigen test and then a supplemental PCR test, which also showed a positive result. This marked the first positive test on Cal’s football team since practices began last month.
The game is the fifth FBS game this week and the 42nd since Aug. 26 to be postponed or canceled. Conference USA this week rescheduled seven games that have been postponed for mid-December.
On Tuesday, Wisconsin canceled its game against Purdue. It’s the second consecutive game the Badgers canceled because of positive COVID-19 tests.
Earlier Thursday, the American Athletic Conference postponed the Tulsa at Navy game scheduled for Saturday because of positive COVID-19 cases and contact tracing at Navy.
A makeup date has not been announced. Tulsa and Navy do not share a common open date the rest of the season, so the conference will “consider a number of options with regard to the playing of the contest.”
Also Thursday, Minnesota announced defensive coordinator Joe Rossi would not coach Saturday against Illinois because he had tested positive for COVID-19.
This is the fourth time a Tulsa game has been postponed or canceled because of COVID cases. Tulsa’s game against Oklahoma State was pushed back a week to Sept. 19 because Tulsa had COVID issues. The Golden Hurricane were supposed to play Arkansas State on Sept. 26, but the Red Wolves couldn’t put a two-deep lineup together. That game has not been rescheduled. Tulsa was set to play Cincinnati last month, but the Bearcats said they couldn’t play, and the game was moved to Dec. 5.
“We knew that this season would be different in the face of the pandemic, and unfortunately has forced another weekend without football for our team,” Tulsa athletic director Rick Dickson said. “I’m disappointed for our football student-athletes and coaches who continue to work and practice diligently, but it reinforces the challenge facing all programs.”
Navy halted all football activities after positive COVID-19 cases among players and players being placed in quarantine after contact tracing determined they had high-risk contact with an infected person. Navy did not specify the number of players affected.
“Protocols and guidelines are very comprehensive both at the Naval Academy and within the American Athletic Conference,” Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said. “An administrative decision has been made that clearly reflects the safety and welfare of all involved with both institutions.”