The USC managed to avoid coronavirus-related problems for the first three weeks of the pandemic-shortened Pac-12 season. But the Trojans’ luck ended this week, and their Saturday showdown against Colorado at the Colosseum was canceled on Thursday.
“After consulting with USC, the Pac-12 conference announced that the game involving Colorado with USC … will not be played,” the conference said in a statement. “This decision was made under the Pac-12 football policy because USC did not have the minimum number of exchange players available for the match on a specific position group due to a number of positive football student-athlete COVID-19 cases and isolation from additional football student-athletes under contact tracking protocols. The game is declared non-competition. ”
The position group is the offensive line, ESPN said.
USC (3-0) announced earlier in the day that, in addition to two players who tested positive earlier in the week, a third was tested for having possible COVID-19 symptoms. The training was canceled and a virtual meeting would take place.
Coach Clay Helton said Tuesday an unidentified player had tested positive and was symptomatic and quarantined. The player traveled with the Trojans for Saturday’s game against Utah, and contacts began in conjunction with medical authorities after his positive test.
The training was canceled on Tuesday.
Further testing revealed a second positive case, and that unnamed player and five others identified through contact tracking were quarantined. The Trojans were allowed to resume training on Wednesday by medical officials, but were then forced out of the training field on Thursday.
“We are disappointed for our players and fans and those from Colorado that Saturday’s game will not be played, but the health and safety of everyone in both programs is top priority,” Helton said in a statement. “Our players have been working hard since the summer to not only prepare for this season, but to do it safely by following all health protocols. I welcome their discipline and sacrifice in doing so. We will continue to test and monitor our players, coaches and staff and will be guided by health officials as we prepare for our remaining matches. ”
USC has scheduled games against Washington State and UCLA that are still on its six-game schedule.
The Trojans-Buffaloes game was the third Pac-12 game to be canceled this week due to coronavirus concerns, following the Washington-Washington State and Utah-Arizona State games. A total of nine Pac-12 games have been canceled in just four weeks of play.
The positive tests of USC players also jeopardize the Trojans’ game against Washington State at the Colosseum on Dec. 4, as the Los Angeles County Health Department guidelines call for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 to avoid placed in quarantine for at least 14 days.
Additionally, this is Colorado’s second game to be canceled in as many weeks, after their Saturday game against ASU was canceled. Rather than sitting inactive for a second consecutive Saturday, the Buffaloes (2-0) will reportedly host San Diego State in a non-conference game.
San Diego State (3-2) had canceled Friday’s scheduled Mountain West game against Fresno State due to concerns about the coronavirus in Fresno, one of at least 97 games canceled or rescheduled this season, according to a list compiled by CBSsports.com.