The Sun Devils have been hit particularly hard, with Coach Herm Edwards among those who have tested positive for the virus.
“In the past few days our test results included a number of positive cases, including multiple student-athletes and coaching staff members, one of which is Head Coach Herm Edwards,” Arizona State Athletic Director Ray Anderson said in a statement. “This put our team below the Pac-12′s minimum threshold of 53 available scholarship student-athletes under the league’s game cancellation policy. After consultation with our medical advisors and Coach Edwards, we immediately began a conversation with the Pac-12 office and California Athletics Director Jim Knowlton to make them aware of the situation."
ESPN reported that the program’s situation is “dire” and that “an entire side of the ball has it.” Arizona State spokesman Mark Brand disputed that information in a text to The Washington Post, saying, “With positives and contact tracing we fell under the Pac-12 threshold of being able to play this weekend.”
Brand declined to discuss when the Sun Devils’ outbreak started, though the Arizona Republic reported that the first positive cases came on Wednesday, with Thursday and Friday morning brining subsequent positive cases.
“We have no idea if we are expecting more [positive cases],” Brand texted The Post.
The Republic also reported that “all activity in the football program has been shut down until further notice.” The status of Arizona State’s game against Colorado on Saturday, Nov. 21 has yet to be determined.
“The league will rule on future games, not us,” Brand wrote in another text to The Post.
Arizona State lost to Southern California, 28-27, in the Pac-12 opener last Saturday. Despite the positive cases among the Sun Devils, the Trojans are still slated to play Arizona Saturday afternoon.
“We are continuing to take every precaution to safeguard the health and welfare of our student-athletes and staff, in accordance with the Pac-12 COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee’s procedures,” Anderson said. “Those with positive test results and those in contact tracing protocols are in isolation and receiving the appropriate medical care.”
Edwards, 66, is the third Pac-12 coach to test positive for the coronavirus, joining UCLA’s Chip Kelly and Arizona’s Kevin Sumlin.
“First, I want to say that Lia, the girls and I are fine and I will be back quicker than you can say ‘Forks Up!’” Edwards said in a statement. “Second, even with the marvelous care our medical professionals have provided for myself, my staff and my team over the past few months the virus still found me. So, I encourage all of you to take this virus seriously, to wear a mask, practice physical distancing and get tested whenever possible.
“As I’ve stated many times over, the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes is absolutely paramount and we will not put them at risk,” Edwards added. “Our team has worked extremely hard to get to this point, and even played a game last weekend. We will continue to care for our students-athletes and follow all protocols very thoroughly as we prepare for our next game. Our team and coaching staff are disappointed, but we do understand what we are dealing with.”
Cal’s Sunday matchup against UCLA will serve as its season opener since last week’s game against Washington was canceled at the Golden Bears’ request due to a player testing positive for the coronavirus, causing other players to be quarantined due to contact tracing.
This is the second straight week Utah has missed a game due to rising coronavirus cases within its football program. The Utes’ Nov. 7 season opener vs. Arizona was canceled and the university announced Friday that there are 17 confirmed positive coronavirus tests within the football program and an additional 11 members in quarantine due to contact tracing protocols.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported that most of Utah’s positive cases stemmed from an outbreak that happened last week, with Friday’s lone positive test coming hours before the team was set to depart for Los Angeles. The ensuing contact tracing brought the team under the minimum roster threshold to play UCLA.
Utah received “a few positives early in the week” but had zero on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, according to The Tribune. The status of Utah’s Nov. 21 matchup against USC will be determined Sunday based on testing conducted this weekend.
“Our community is especially hard-hit right now by this virus, and our team and our department have been doing everything possible to follow protocols and avoid the spread of the virus,” Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan said in a statement. “We were doing very well, day-by-day, and it is extremely difficult for our student-athletes and coaches that they will not be able to compete again this week. We also acknowledge the disappointment for our fans, and we know how upsetting it is for UCLA’s football program. We have maintained close communication with UCLA and we were very hopeful this game would be played.”
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