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Arizona-Utah football is 2nd Pac-12 game canceled due to COVID-19

In this Aug. 28, 2014, file photo, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham shouts as he runs onto the field during his team's NCAA college football game against Idaho State in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

The Pac-12 on Friday canceled its second scheduled football game for the season-opening weekend due to coronavirus concerns impacting the Utah Utes, who were set to host the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday.

“The Pac-12 has approved a request from Utah to cancel the Arizona at Utah football game scheduled for November 7,” the conference said in a statement. “This decision was made under the Pac-12’s football game cancellation policy due to Utah not having the minimum number of scholarship players available for the game as a result of a number of positive football student-athlete COVID-19 cases and resulting isolation of additional football student-athletes under contact tracing protocols. Under Conference policy, the game will be declared a no contest.”

“The cancellation of this game, following yesterday’s cancellation of the Washington at Cal football game, is of course incredibly disappointing to our student-athletes and our fans,” the Pac-12 statement added. “At the same time it is an indication that our health and safety protocols are working in identifying positive cases and contact tracing cases. While all of us want to see our football student-athletes on the field competing, our number one priority must continue to be the health and safety of all those connected to Pac-12 football programs.”

Utah said in a statement that “a number of positive COVID-19 cases” were found on the football team.

Kickoff was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. MST, and the game was slated to be broadcast on ESPN2.

The news comes a day after California’s season-opener against Washington was canceled following a positive coronavirus test.

The Athletic’s Christian Caple reports that Washington explored the possibility it and Arizona could put together a replacement game, but it comes on too short of notice.

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

Utah is scheduled to face ASU on Nov. 28 in Tempe.

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury news said in his weekly newsletter that the conference is keeping open the possibility it will use a Week 7 of the season to make up games impacted by the virus. Those games could also be cross-divisional.

“We have made the determination to preserve as much flexibility for these games as possible given the potential for COVID-19 disruptions that could lead to the need to reschedule important matchups,” the Pac-12 told Wilner in a statement. “We plan to review games for this week later in the season and will make an announcement at that time on our approach.”