ASU Pac-12 matchup with California canceled due to COVID-19

Saturday's football game in Tempe has been canceled due to coronavirus outbreaks on both teams

ASU's football game this Saturday against California has been canceled due to multiple players and coaches within the ASU program testing positive for COVID-19, including ASU head coach Herm Edwards

According to a team source, ASU has 85 active players on scholarship, and if ASU is unable to meet the 53-player standard of scholarship players necessary to field a team, it means the Sun Devils could have several players that have tested positive or are in isolation or quarantine.

"In the past few days, our test results included a number of positive cases, including multiple student-athletes and coaching staff members, one of which is Head Coach Herm Edwards," ASU Vice President for Athletics Ray Anderson said in a statement Friday morning. "This put our team below the Pac-12's minimum threshold of 53 available scholarship student-athletes under the league's game cancellation policy. After consultation with our medical advisors and Coach Edwards, we immediately began a conversation with the Pac-12 office and California Athletics Director Jim Knowlton to make them aware of the situation."

Anderson also mentioned that the program will "continue to monitor our testing results and stay in close communication with our University, local public health officials and the Pac-12 Conference."

Edwards wrote the Sun Devils will continue preparing for its next game against Colorado on Nov. 21.

"As I've stated many times over, the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes is absolutely paramount and we will not put them at risk," Edwards said in the statement. "Our team has worked extremely hard to get to this point, and even played a game last weekend."

The Golden Bears’ first game against Washington last Saturday was also canceled due to a player testing positive for COVID-19, leading to several others quarantining as close contacts.

The City of Berkeley Health Department has set a guideline that anyone testing positive and those with close contact found by tracing need to quarantine for 14 days minimum. 

Without the players in quarantine available for a game, Cal would not be able to field a full team. A defensive lineman tested positive, and the entire position group was placed in quarantine. Cal head coach Justin Wilcox confirmed a "position group and more" are not with the team during a Zoom press conference on Tuesday. Per ESPN, the players would not be done with their two-week quarantine until next Tuesday. 

The Pac-12’s statement about game cancellation includes the minimum number of players at each position that need to be active and on scholarship. For defensive linemen, the threshold is four.

Per multiple reports, most of Cal's quarantined players have had multiple negative tests throughout the week.

Wilcox showed frustration over the city of Berkeley's process of determining who had to go into quarantine. He said watching other teams across the country that have more positive tests playing "did not feel great."

"There are some guys in quarantine that are not sure why they’re in quarantine," Wilcox said in a video posted Tuesday.

"We all know if there was a high number of positive tests and a risk for the community and spread within our team, everyone's on board with that we respect that," Wilcox said. "What we are having a hard time understanding is the process that led us to this point. You can’t help but be a bit frustrated and angry and try to figure out why. We're still trying to figure that out." 

Another apparent miscommunication appeared on Wednesday as Wilcox believed he would have an answer by then. But, Cal athletics released a statement that there were no further updates. The Golden Bears and ASU had been practicing this week as if the game were still on.

The Pac-12 packed seven games in seven weeks on the schedule with no ability to reschedule. ASU’s season went from seven games to six, and Cal’s from then-seven games to five. 

After a 28-27 loss to USC last week, the Sun Devils will wait until Nov. 21 to play at Colorado. Their home opener won’t be until Nov. 28 against Utah. 


Reach the reporters at alexjweiner@gmail.com
and aklatsky@asu.edu and follow @alexjweiner and @averyklatsky on Twitter.

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