Four SEC Games Postponed as Conference's COVID-19 Woes Worsen

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Saturday's game between No. 24 Auburn and Mississippi State has been postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests and the subsequent quarantine of people within the Bulldogs' program.

The SEC announced the game is tentatively rescheduled for Dec. 12. The contest is joined by postponements for No. 1 Alabama vs. LSU, Tennessee vs. No. 5 Texas A&M and No. 12 Georgia vs. Missouri. All four games were originally slated to be held on Saturday.

Shortly before the league's announcement, Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger reported Mississippi State was battling a COVID-19 outbreak and planned to temporarily shut down all football activities.

Auburn has also faced a slate of COVID-19 absences this week, including nine players and three staff members, per head coach Gus Malzahn

The news comes amid a COVID crisis around the SEC. Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher announced that the Aggies will not practice on Monday because of multiple positive COVID-19 tests within the program. The team discovered on Sunday that two people—one player and one student worker—who traveled with the team for its win over South Carolina on Saturday had tested positive. Texas A&M will meet virtually on Monday while it quarantines players and performs contact tracing procedures.

LSU coach Ed Orgeron said the Tigers are dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak, with some players testing positive and more in quarantine. Orgeron wouldn't confirm the number of players affected but said the group included several starters. The Tigers are still preparing for Saturday's game against Alabama, but the matchup could be in jeopardy. LSU already has a make-up game with Florida scheduled for Dec. 12.

Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman is the latest SEC coach to test positive for COVID-19. Pittman was tested on Sunday as part of the team's standard protocol and informed of his positive result on Monday. Pittman is asymptomatic and is in self-isolation at his home, according to the school's release. 

According to PowerMizzou.com's Gabe DeArmond, the Missouri Tigers are going through contact tracing and assessing the numbers on the roster on Tuesday afternoon.

The SEC isn't the only conference battling COVID-19 issues. The Pac-12 opened its season last weekend with Utah vs. Arizona and Washington vs. California both canceled because the Utes and Golden Bears did not have the minimum number of scholarship players available for games. The issue was caused by positive COVID-19 cases and additional players isolated under contact tracing protocols in both programs. The Pac-12 declared both games no contests. In the meantime, Stanford played its opener vs. Oregon without starting QB David Mills and two other players due to virus protocols.

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said on Monday that the program "barely" has a full team and is preparing walk-ons to play against UCLA this weekend.

The Bears are facing a possible cancellation for their upcoming game against Arizona State due to the strict health protocols in the city of Berkeley, according to The Mercury News. The team reportedly had one defensive lineman test positive for the virus, but Berkeley health officials said to place the entire position group in quarantine for two weeks. Without a defensive line, the Bears couldn't play Washington.