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SEC Game Postponed as Several Teams Deal With COVID

Brock Fritz

One Southeastern Conference game is off while a number of teams are dealing with COVID-19 issues that could put additional games in jeopardy.

Mississippi State announced Monday that its home game Saturday against Auburn has been postponed until Dec. 12 “in compliance with the Southeastern Conference’s policies and parameters for football game cancellations, rescheduling of games and no-contest declarations for the 2020 season.”

The SEC’s COVID-19 management parameters require teams to have at least 53 scholarship student-athletes in order to play a game.

"Based on positive tests and those considered as close contacts, along with non-COVID injuries, we do not have the minimum number of scholarship student-athletes available for Saturday's game against Auburn," Mississippi director of athletics John Cohen said. "While we are disappointed that Saturday's game has been postponed, our priority is the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes and staff. We will continue to follow all established protocols and evaluate the most responsible path to return to the field."

The Alabama at LSU game Saturday night is also reportedly in jeopardy, according to ESPN. LSU has multiple players, including starters in all three phases, in quarantine for positive COVID-19 tests or contact tracing.

SEC protocol requires everyone who tests positive to quarantine for at least 10 days, while the time extends to 14 days for those deemed high-risk contacts. LSU already had its game against Florida postponed until Dec. 12, which would make it tough to reschedule the Alabama game.

Texas A&M also didn’t practice Monday, with head coach Jimbo Fisher saying during a Monday press conference that one player and one student worker tested positive in the wake of Saturday’s 48-3 win at South Carolina.

“We had a couple cases of COVID after we got back and tested (Sunday), and we suspended things for the protocols to make sure we do our contact tracing and all the things that go with it,” Fisher said, noting the Aggies would still meet virtually Monday. “We’re retesting the whole team again today, then of course the protocols that go on during the week so we’re in those processes now.”

Texas A&M, which also had defensive back Demani Richardson miss the South Carolina game after testing positive, is scheduled to visit Tennessee Saturday. According to ESPN, the game isn’t in jeopardy but there are “over a dozen” players who will be out for at least 14 days due to contact tracing.

"It's not like an outbreak, it's just contact tracing," Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork said. "The level of concern is not that we have a bunch of positive cases, you just don't have the players because of your contact tracing."

Arkansas also announced that head coach Sam Pittman tested positive Sunday. He isn’t symptomatic and is in self isolation at home, while all close contacts are also entering quarantine. Arkansas is scheduled to play at Florida Saturday.

Related content: UF Football on Pause as COVID-19 Struggles Hit SEC

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