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Postponement, Outbreaks: SEC Takes A Hit From COVID-19

Postponement, Outbreaks: SEC Takes A Hit From COVID-19

The Southeastern Conference is taking a hit from COVID-19.

The Southeastern Conference is taking a hit from COVID-19.

The conference on Monday postponed Saturdays game between No. 20 Auburn and Mississippi State because of positive COVID-19 cases and quarantining within the Bulldogs program.

No. 5 Texas A&M paused in-person activities after a player and a staff member tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from a win at South Carolina. LSU is battling an outbreak that could put Saturday’s game against No. 1 Alabama in jeopardy. And Arkansas coach Sam Pittman has tested positive and could miss the game at No. 6 Florida.

The stop-and-start nature of college sports in a pandemic is familiar by now, but the cluster of problems was a reminder how fragile the season is. The problems Monday extended beyond the SEC, too: Michigan State announced that mens basketball coach Tom Izzo has tested positive for COVID-19, the Mountain West canceled Air Forces scheduled football game at Wyoming this Saturday due to an upward trend of COVID-19 cases at the academy and the Pac-12 opened its season over the weekend with two games postponed.

Mississippi State said its program has fallen below the minimum threshold of 53 available scholarship athletes needed to play. The game wastentatively rescheduled for Dec. 12 in Starkville, Mississippi. Athletic director John Cohen said the Bulldogs were disappointed, but our priority is the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes and staff.”

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said the Aggies were undergoing additional testing and contact tracing amid hopes the team could return to campus Tuesday. He was confident that Saturdays game at Tennessee will be played.

Pittman learned Monday he had tested positive. SEC protocol for asymptomatic positives will require him to isolate for at least 10 days from the date of the positive test if a retest confirms the result. Defensive coordinator Barry Odom will serve as interim head coach for now.

LSU coach Ed Orgeron stressed he wanted to be cautious about answering medical questions and didnt want to get into the number of players affected by the teams latest outbreak or the number of positive tests. He said related quarantines due to possible exposure have thinned his roster.

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More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25.


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