The Southeastern Conference announced Wednesday that the game between the Florida Gators and the LSU Tigers, initially scheduled for this Saturday, has been postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak within the Florida football program and the contest is tentatively rescheduled for December 12th.
University of Florida athletic director, Scott Stricklin, announced Tuesday that the school was halting team activities “out of an abundance of caution” after the team “experienced an increase in positive Covid tests among players.”
According to data released by the university on Tuesday, a total of six Gator players tested positive this month, but The Alligator, Florida’s student newspaper, subsequently reported that 19 players tested positive.
On Wednesday morning, Stricklin said that Florida has 18 positive tests among scholarship players and three walk-ons.
Gators head coach Dan Mullen told reporters that two assistant coaches had also tested positive.
The SEC announced Monday that the Missouri-Vanderbilt game originally scheduled for Saturday had been postponed due to the quarantining of players who had tested positive and those designated as close contacts. That game has also been tentatively rescheduled for Dec. 12, which is the SEC’s built-in bye week. Florida’s AD said Wednesday that the university suspects the team’s trip to play Texas A&M in College Station, Texas, last weekend led to the outbreak. Texas A&M Director of Athletics Ross Bjork said no A&M players had tested positive as of Tuesday.
This past Saturday, Florida head coach Dan Mullen told reporters that he hoped the university would allow nearly 100,000 Gator fans to pile inside the team’s home stadium for their matchup with LSU. “I know our governor passed that rule, so certainly, hopefully, the UF administration decides to let us pack The Swamp against LSU,” Mullen said. “Absolutely want to see 90,000 in The Swamp,” he added. “Hopefully that creates a home-field advantage for us next week because now we passed a law in our state that we can do that.” Florida’s school president stated that wasn’t a possibility.
“I mean, I’ll be honest. I think if you look at what we’ve been able to do, the safety precautions we have that our players have followed, our coaches follow, our staff follows, you know, I think we’re a model of safety of what we’ve been doing during this time period,” coach Mullen said Tuesday when asked if he had any regrets about his comments on Saturday.
15,594: As of Wednesday afternoon, there have been at least 741,624 coronavirus cases and 15,594 Covid-related deaths in Florida since the beginning of the pandemic, according to a New York Times database.