The Florida-LSU game scheduled for Saturday has been postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak within the Florida football program.
The Bad News
Eighteen scholarship players and three walk-ons tested positive, according to Athletic Director Scott Stricklin.
Combined with players held out due to contact tracing or injuries, less than 50 scholarship players would be available on Saturday. The SEC’s Covid-19 policy holds that a team must have 53 scholarship players available in order to play.
In addition, two assistant coaches tested positive.
Thankfully, all 21 players and both coaches are asymptomatic or reporting mild symptoms.
The LSU game has been tentatively rescheduled for Dec. 12th, a week before the SEC championship game.
Due to the mandatory quarantine period, next week’s game against Missouri may also be in jeopardy.
“This is not going to be normal, and everyone’s going to have to be flexible if we’re going to try to get a season in for everyone,” Stricklin said.
Due to the uncertain nature of this season, Stricklin didn’t rule out the possibility of weekday games being played by SEC teams.
In addition to the SEC’s set protocols, Florida will now be doing daily testing indefinitely. Stricklin hopes that this will prevent any further spread.
Team activities for the Gators are also paused indefinitely.
How Did This Happen?
Coming into this unique season, everyone was well aware of the risks involved. Until this week, though, the Gators had done a good job maintaining a low number of cases.
What changed? Stricklin thinks last weekend’s trip to College Station may have played a part.
Stricklin added that multiple players experienced mild symptoms on Friday, but assumed they were just allergies and did not report anything.
Regardless of what caused the outbreak, the team must now move forward. Such is life in 2020.
The next time the Gators take the field, they will look to bounce back from a disappointing first loss and play much better defense.