TCU announced Friday afternoon that it would not be playing SMU next week.
The Horned Frogs and Mustangs were set to play their Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex rivalry game on Friday, Sept. 11. But multiple COVID-19 cases within the TCU football program have caused the game to be postponed.
“In the course of following CDC guidelines and our aggressive testing and contact tracing strategy, we discovered that some student-athletes and support staff in our football program have tested positive for COVID-19,” TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati said in a statement. “Those individuals were notified immediately and are currently abiding by CDC protocols.”
Donati did not identify the number of cases within the team and said that no one in the program was facing “serious health issues” as a result of the positive tests. He also noted that the teams would work together to find a potential makeup date for the game.
Next Friday’s contest was set to be the first game a Big 12 team had played in 2020 and was one of the best games in the early weeks of the 2020 college football season.
Making up the game could be tricky. The teams do not have common off dates the rest of the season. They could play on Dec. 12 if neither team is in its conference championship game. Assuming, of course, those games are played as scheduled. The American title game is on Dec. 5 while the Big 12 title game is Dec. 12.
First of many in-season postponements?
Friday’s announcement could be the first of numerous postponements just days ahead of scheduled kickoff times. Schools and conferences have built-in off weeks and contingency plans due to scenarios like this. And with schools testing players in the days immediately ahead of games, it’s possible that we could have a game postponed within hours of kickoff at some point this season.
TCU has an off week on Sept. 19 before opening Big 12 play against Iowa State on Sept. 26. The two-week break could be enough time for the school to contain the outbreak among the team and have everyone healthy enough to begin conference play as scheduled.
Big 12 announces roster minimums
Within minutes of TCU revealing that its game against SMU would be postponed, the Big 12 officially announced its roster minimums for conference games to be played this season. The conference said Friday afternoon that the minimum number of players required to play a game was at 53.
“Additional minimum thresholds of available players were also established for offensive linemen (7), interior defensive linemen (4) and quarterback (1),” the conference said. “Teams falling below any of these benchmarks, based on game week test results, could still elect to play as scheduled if so desired. Otherwise, upon approval by the Commissioner, the game would be declared a no-contest if it cannot be moved to a later date.”
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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