Notre Dame and Wake Forest had a game scheduled for Saturday afternoon, providing the Fighting Irish with the opportunity to start the season 0-3. However, a string of positive COVID-19 tests have forced the team to postpone the anticipated matchup. The two schools are now working on a date to reschedule the game.
According to ESPN, seven players tested positive for the coronavirus following 94 tests on Monday. When combined with results from last week, Notre Dame now has 13 players in isolation. Ten are currently in quarantine. The university has now paused all football-related activities after defeating Duke to start the season and blowing out South Florida by a score of 52-0 on Saturday.
"With student-athlete health and safety our primary focus, we will continue to follow our prevention protocols and ongoing testing procedures," Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said in a statement. "We managed an increase in positivity rates in August, and the players handled it wonderfully. We knew COVID would present challenges throughout the season, and we'll always put student-athlete health and safety at the forefront of our decision making. We look forward to resuming team activities and getting back on the playing field."
Notre Dame previously practices for three days in August due to similar issues. The team had five positive tests during two rounds of testing. The now-postponed battle between Notre Dame and Wake Forest is also the fourth ACC game impacted due to coronavirus issues.
"I know everyone involved is saddened to be unable to play this weekend, but based on the circumstances it is the right decision," Wake Forest athletic director John Currie said in a statement. "We are already discussing options for rescheduling with the ACC and our future opponents, including the possibility of playing on the October 3rd weekend." The two schools share an open date on the proposed date.
The news of Notre Dame pausing all football-related activities comes the same the day the NFL released the latest test results. The league has avoided any outbreaks following two weeks of action while adhering to strict guidelines. According to a press release, the NFL administered 36,664 tests to a total of 7,845 players and team personnel. No players tested positive for the coronavirus while five new cases surfaced among other personnel.
According to the league's press release, players and personnel in Tiers 1 and 2 are tested daily as part of an agreement between the NFL and NFLPA. Tier 3 individuals undergo weekly tests. The NFL has not entirely avoided positive tests, but the league has been able to keep the schedule moving forward without postponements.