The LSU Tigers are dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak among the members of the football team. Several are in quarantine while others have the virus. The quarterback and defensive back positions have been the most affected, leading to questions about potential postponements.
According to Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger, the outbreak stems from a Halloween party. He also reported that the contact tracing has resulted in the team nearly reaching the 53-player threshold. The Athletic adds that the Tigers are missing several key members of the team. There are no long snappers or tight ends available. Only one scholarship quarterback, freshman TJ Finley, is available for the team heading toward the weekend.
"We are dealing with COVID and contact tracing I can’t go into detail. It’s a very fluid situation," head coach Ed Orgeron said Monday. "We do have some players who have COVID and have some players in quarantine." He also told reporters that the team is still preparing to face Alabama in a highly-anticipated Saturday matchup. The game is set for 5 p.m. ET on ESPN.
LSU currently has no open dates available for any potential postponements. The team already moved a game against Florida to Dec. 12. If the team can't face off against Alabama, that game would just disappear from the schedule. The SEC office and the two schools are currently trying to determine how best to hold the game.
This current outbreak is not the first time that the coronavirus has impacted the LSU football team. There were also several issues in June. At least 30 players tested positive, which the Athletic Department partially attributed to the uptick in nationwide protests, as well as Memorial Day gatherings. Additionally, Orgeron turned heads in September by saying that "most of the team" had tested positive.
"Not all of our players, but most of our players have caught it," Orgeron said to reporters. "I think that hopefully, they won't catch it again, and hopefully they're not out for games. ... Hopefully, that once you catch it, you don't get it again. I'm not a doctor. I think they have that 90-day window, so most of the players that have caught it, we do feel like they'll be eligible for games."
Two months after Orgeron's comments, the Tigers are dealing with another coronavirus outbreak. There is currently no clear answer about whether the latest issues will force the cancellation of the Alabama game. For now, the Tigers will continue looking forward to the weekend and the SEC battle.