NC State's season opening football game at Virginia Tech has been postponed because of the COVID-19 outbreak reported within the Wolfpack's athletic program.
The game was originally scheduled to be held on Saturday, Sept. 12 at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va. It will now be played two weeks later, on Sept. 26. Both teams previously had an open date that week.
State will now begin its 2020 season on Saturday, Sept. 19 with a home game against Wake Forest at Carter-Finley Stadium.
"We appreciate the ACC and Virginia Tech working together in partnership to move this game to a mutual open weekend,” State athletic director Boo Corrigan said in a statement. “There’s no blueprint for what we’re all trying to navigate and we are grateful for everyone’s collaboration to make this work.”
The ACC officially announced the schedule change on Wednesday. The move is hardly a surprise.
Officials from the two schools began discussing the possibility of moving the game shortly after the Wolfpack halted all athletic activities, including football practice, on Monday.
The temporary suspension came after State's latest round of 693 COVID-19 tests revealed 22 new positives among members of the athletic department.
It has not been reported whether anyone involved with the football program was among those testing positive. However, sources have indicated that at least some were, requiring them to follow the ACC's prescribed COVID-19 protocols.
According to those guidelines, any athlete that tests positive for the virus must be quarantined for at least 10 days before returning to the playing field. Those indentified through contact tracing must be quarantined for 14 days.
With less than three weeks remaining before the scheduled opener, there wouldn't be enough time for coach Dave Doeren and his team to prepare if a large number -- or the entire roster -- is going through the protocol.
The Wolfpack will now have only only one open date in 2020, on Oct. 31.
"The ACC created a league schedule with flexibility to adjust games if needed,” Doeren said. “There are going to be times teams must adjust based on what is best for the health and safety of the players and staffs involved. This move provides our team and staff the time needed to prepare and reacclimate after pausing our practices.”
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