The Pac-12 will kick off its football season on Saturday, but one conference game will not be played. The game between the California Golden Bears and the Washington Huskies has been canceled after a Cal player tested positive for COVID-19. This led to several teammates being placed into quarantine.
"Cal Athletics followed guidance from University Health Services Infection Control and Berkeley Public Health on contact tracing, quarantining, symptom monitoring and treatment," the school said in a statement as reported by ESPN. "As a result, several football student-athletes are in quarantine due to contact tracing." It's also possible the Bears will not play their game on Nov. 14 against Arizona State. ESPN mentioned the City of Berkeley Health Department requires any individual who came in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 to quarantine for two weeks.
"I wish I knew," Cal coach Justin Wilcox said on the chances of the game against ASU being played. "This is not my decision. It's not a Cal football, it's certainly not our players' decision. It'll be determined through the public health office at Berkeley and the contact tracing and if those are players who are negative are allowed to come back and join us." The Pac-12 released a statement on the game being canceled and approved the decision by Cal.
"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," the Pac-12 stated. "Under Conference policy, the game will be declared a no contest."
Wilcox said the player who tested positive is asymptomatic and all the players who are in quarantine tested negative. A spokesperson from Berkeley Public Health explained why they mandated a 14-day protocol.
"The reason that the 14-day quarantine exists is that's the amount of time over which somebody could develop the disease," Matthai Chakko, a spokesman for Berkeley Public Health, told ESPN. "[A negative test] doesn't cure somebody's COVID-19 and it doesn't remove the chance that the virus may appear. That's what the quarantine order is based on." The Pac-12 originally decided to postpone the football season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In September, the conference decided to start the 2020 season in November with each team playing a conference-only schedule.