The Pac-12 is playing its first games of 2020 this weekend, following a late-September decision to reverse course from their initial plans (announced in early August) not to play this fall thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. But one of those first games now won’t be happening. That would be Saturday’s Washington Huskies at California Golden Bears game, which had been set to air on ESPN at 10:30 p.m. Eastern. Wednesday saw a positive test from a Cal player and the start of contact tracing, and Thursday, that led to Cal calling off the game, citing how many of their scholarship players were unavailable:
After receiving a positive result through his regularly scheduled daily antigen test, the student-athlete took a supplemental PCR test, as is protocol. The PCR test also produced a positive outcome. Cal Athletics followed guidance from University Health Services Infection Control and Berkeley Public Health on contact tracing, quarantining, symptom monitoring and treatment. As a result, several football student-athletes are in quarantine due to contact tracing.
Head coach Justin Wilcox and Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton agreed that Cal could not field a competitive team given the number of student-athletes affected. The Pac-12 approved Cal’s request to cancel the game under the Pac-12’s football game cancelation policy due to the Bears’ inability to have a minimum number of scholarship players available.
“The health and well-being of our student-athletes is always at the forefront of our decision making,” Knowlton said. “We have been diligent in the development and execution of our return-to-play plan, and our goal all along has been to provide a safe environment and to mitigate risk as much as possible. We know how much our team and the greater Cal Athletics community was looking forward to the start of the football season this weekend. While we are disappointed in our inability to play this week, we are confident that we have made the right decision. As we have seen across the country, we knew that there would be COVID-19 challenges, and we will continue to follow our protocols to support the health of our student-athletes.”
“It is very disappointing that we will not be opening our 2020 season this Saturday night against Washington,” Wilcox said. “My heart goes out first and foremost to all of our players who have been through so much since the pandemic began and worked so hard under difficult circumstances to prepare themselves to play. They have done so well following the protocols that have been put in place, but as we are finding out first-hand, playing football during 2020 is a fragile situation.”
This adds to an already-extensive list of Week 10 cancellations or postponements. Here’s that list:
Louisville-Virginia: Postponed to Nov. 14.
Air Force-Army: Postponed, attempting to reschedule.
Tulsa-Navy: Postponed, attempting to reschedule.
We’ll see if any more games wind up being moved or called off.