How many players have to test positive for coronavirus to postpone a college football game?
The question largely went unanswered until the Big 12 announced over the weekend that they will follow the NFL’s lead. The conference announced on Friday that at least 53 players, including walk-ons, would have to be available for a team to play.
The conference also set minimums for a few position groups. Teams will be required to have at least seven available offensive linemen, four available interior defensive linemen and one quarterback. If they have 53 players but do not meet the position requirements, the team has the option to play or postpone. If the losses are too great, the game will be declared a no contest until it can be rescheduled. TCU-SMU is the league’s first rescheduled game, postponed from Sept. 11 after a rash of cases in Ft. Worth.
Let’s apply this standard to three separate SEC schools. Positive coronavirus cases forced Auburn to cancel practice for a week. Upon returning, 16-18 players were absent, still under quarantine. They would have had enough players to compete if it were still a game week. Last week LSU had the numbers to compete, just not on the offensive line with only four blockers reportedly available. In a game week they could have opted to postpone the game to protect quarterback Myles Brennan. Tennessee was at the furthest end of the spectrum as 44 players were out for either testing positive or coming in close contact with those who had the virus.