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TCU, Tulsa Push Back Season-Opening Football Games

Brock Fritz

The first full week of the delayed 2020 college football season will see a few teams not ready to take the field.

Positive COVID-19 tests have postponed the Texas Christian University versus Southern Methodist University game indefinitely, while delays in Tulsa’s preseason program have caused the school to push its season-opening game against Oklahoma State back a week.

"We are disappointed to announce that our upcoming football game against SMU will not be played as scheduled on September 11. We have agreed with SMU to monitor dates throughout the season to potentially make up the game,” TCU director of athletics Jeremiah Donati said in Friday’s announcement. "In the course of following CDC guidelines and our aggressive testing and contact tracing strategy, we discovered that some student-athletes and support staff in our football program have tested positive for COVID-19. Those individuals were notified immediately and are currently abiding by CDC protocols.”  

SMU will now open the season Sept. 19 at North Texas, while TCU is scheduled to host Iowa State Sept. 26.

"No one is currently facing serious health issues, and we intend to continue our enforcement of strict standards to protect the program and our community,” Donati said. “Everyone's health and safety remains our top priority. We share in your disappointment, but firmly believe we will be ready to resume football activities soon. We will continue to follow prevention and testing protocols.”

The Big 12 is one of the three Power 5 conferences attempting to play through the COVID-19 pandemic, while the Big Ten and Pac-12 have postponed their seasons with the hopes of playing in the spring.

Related content: Big Ten: Presidents Voted 11-3 to Postpone Season

Tulsa announced Monday that its season-opening non-conference game at Oklahoma State has been postponed from Saturday until Sept. 19. Tulsa’s release said that COVID-19 protocols have allowed the football team to have a limited amount of practice sessions, including a nine-day hiatus, since camp began Aug. 7. The nine-day break stemmed from eight Tulsa players testing positive for COVID-19.

"The safety and health of our student-athletes is always at the core of all of our discussions and decisions. Without time to properly prepare physically we would be putting our student-athletes at a greater risk of injury," said Tulsa vice president and director of athletics Dr. Derrick Gragg in Monday’s announcement. "An open date for both schools presented us with the opportunity to reschedule the game for a week later.”

Related content: Tulsa, North Dakota Halt Workouts After Positive Tests

Rice wasn't scheduled to start the season until Oct. 3 at Marshall. It will be later now, as the athletic department announced Sunday that the football team won't be able to start practice until late September.

"The Owns would have needed to begin their preseason practice schedule this weekend in advance of opening the season in early October," the release reads. "However, current conditions related to the infection rate in Houston and the need for highly reliable and very rapid testing results in the competitive athletics context forced a delay in a decision to move forward."

Stadium's Brett McMurphy reported that Rice's season won't start until Oct. 24 against Middle Tennessee, while the Oct. 3 game against Marshall and Oct. 10 game against UAB have been postponed indefinitely. 

The NCAA football has seen has been underway since Aug. 29, when Central Arkansas claimed a 24-17 win over Austin Peay. A number of games have played since then, while Thursday’s UAB at Miami game is scheduled to kick off the most active week yet.

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