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Pac-12 cancels Cal-Washington season opener over coronavirus concerns

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

California’s season-opening football game Saturday night against Washington has been canceled following a positive coronavirus test Wednesday.

Contract tracing linking the player who tested positive to a large number of Golden Bears teammates ultimately resulted in Cal asking for the game to be called off. It could put Cal’s second game of the year, a Nov. 14 visit to Arizona State, in question.

“The Pac-12 has approved a request from Cal to cancel the Washington at Cal football game scheduled for November 7,” read a Thursday statement from the Pac-12 league office. “This decision was made under the Pac-12’s football game cancellation policy due to Cal not having the minimum number of scholarship players available for the game as a result of a positive football student-athlete COVID-19 case and resulting isolation of additional football student-athletes under contact tracing protocols.

“Under Conference policy, the game will be declared a no contest. The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 football programs will continue to be our number one priority.”

The game was scheduled for a 8:30 p.m. MST kickoff Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley.

“It is very disappointing that we will not be opening our 2020 season this Saturday night against Washington,” Wilcox said in a 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 player with a positive COVID-19 test is asymptomatic. He took his regular daily antigen test and then a supplemental PCR test, which also showed a positive result. This marked the first positive test on Cal’s football team since practices began last month.

“It’s a tricky situation as we all know. We are glad to report that the one positive is asymptomatic and everybody’s healthy. But the result of the contact tracing is significant,” Wilcox said Wednesday before the game was canceled.

As of Oct. 30, Cal had conducted 3,547 PCR tests since testing began June 4, resulting in 20 positive results.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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