Saturday’s college football game between the 10th-ranked University of Florida and defending national champion Louisiana State University has been postponed until December after 21 players on the Gators’ squad tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Southeastern Conference announced Wednesday.
The postponement comes a day after Florida suspended all football activity following an initial five positive tests among players and four days after coach Dan Mullen called for Gators fans to fill the 90,000-capacity Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville for the game against LSU.
The game had been touted as a marquee match-up on ESPN, with officials moving the kickoff from 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. to accommodate television.
Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin said that in addition to the 21 players who have tested positive, 18 of which are scholarship athletes, others are ruled out due to contact tracing and another handful are ineligible due to injury.
“It gives the Gators less than 50 scholarship players available currently,” Stricklin said in a release on the Florida athletic department website. “Fortunately, all those who are positive in this instance, including some coaches and some football staff, they seem to be either asymptomatic or only experiencing mild symptoms so that’s obviously a positive right now and hopefully they’ll continue to not have more severe symptoms.”
The LSU-Florida game is the second SEC contest scheduled for this weekend that has been postponed. On Monday, the SEC postponed the Vanderbilt-Missouri game because Vanderbilt did not have the minimum required players available due to positive tests for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 and contact tracing.
Both games have been rescheduled for Dec. 12, but that could create a problem if Florida still is unable to play its Oct. 24 game against Missouri. It’s unclear when that game could be played, Yahoo Sports reported.
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