Florida Pauses Football Activities After Additional Positive COVID-19 Tests

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Florida has temporarily paused football activities after an increase in positive COVID-19 tests within its program.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Gators confirmed five new positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to six for the month of October. Then, the program said it opted to pause activities Tuesday afternoon "out of an abundance of caution" and will reassess the situation Wednesday.

On Wednesday, The Athletic's G. Allan Taylor reported that the Gators have 19 positive cases among players, plus another 10 that are under mandatory quarantines based on potential exposure. 

"Head coach Dan Mullen has been in communication with football players and their parents, and I have had conversations with the Southeastern Conference office, last week's opponent Texas A&M, and this week's opponent LSU," athletic director Scott Stricklin said. "These circumstances will be re-evaluated by UF Health and the athletic department's sports medicine staff Wednesday."

Florida is scheduled to host LSU at "The Swamp" on Saturday. The move to halt practice and meetings comes only days after Mullen talked about wanting to pack 90,000 fans at the stadium to create a stronger home-field advantage against the Tigers. When asked about his comments on Monday, Mullen didn't appear to change his stance.

Texas A&M has reviewed data from the SEC's contact-tracing system after the Aggies beat Florida last weekend.

"At this point, there has been no impact within our football program, but we will continue our regular testing regimen this week and stay diligent with all of our safety protocols," said Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork.

On Monday, the SEC postponed a football game for the first time this season when it moved Saturday's Vanderbilt-Missouri contest to Dec. 12 due to COVID-19 issues within the Commodores' program. The league announced the game was postponed "due to positive tests and subsequent quarantine of individuals within the Vanderbilt FB program," and "the action is consistent with SEC COVID-19 management requirements." 

The Commodores played with only 56 scholarship players in their 41–7 loss to South Carolina last weekend, and the team may fall below the mark of 53 scholarship players recommended to take the field.