BERKELEY (CBS SF) — The Cal football team’s season-opening game against Washington at Memorial Stadium has been canceled because of a player’s positive COVID-19 test and quarantining of other players who had close contact with him.
Cal’s Athletic Department said the game would be declared a “no contest” because of the Golden Bears’ inability to field a competitive roster following the results of one positive COVID-19 test and subsequent contact tracing.
Both head coach Justin Wilcox and Athletic Director Jim Knowlton agreed that Cal could not field a competitive team given the number of student-athletes affected, according to a press release.
The Pac-12 approved Cal’s request to cancel the game under the Pac-12’s football game cancelation policy due to the Bears’ inability to have a minimum number of scholarship players available.
“The health and well-being of our student-athletes is always at the forefront of our decision making,” Knowlton said in a prepared statement. “We have been diligent in the development and execution of our return-to-play plan, and our goal all along has been to provide a safe environment and to mitigate risk as much as possible. We know how much our team and the greater Cal Athletics community was looking forward to the start of the football season this weekend. While we are disappointed in our inability to play this week, we are confident that we have made the right decision. As we have seen across the country, we knew that there would be COVID-19 challenges, and we will continue to follow our protocols to support the health of our student-athletes.”
“It is very disappointing that we will not be opening our 2020 season this Saturday night against Washington,” Wilcox said in the press statement. “My heart goes out first and foremost to all of our players who have been through so much since the pandemic began and worked so hard under difficult circumstances to prepare themselves to play. They have done so well following the protocols that have been put in place, but as we are finding out first-hand, playing football during 2020 is a fragile situation.”
The positive COVID test is the team’s first since players began daily testing last month. Since student-athlete testing began in June, 3,547 tests have been conducted among all student-athletes through Oct. 30, with 20 positive results.