Mizzou the latest SEC team dealing with COVID issues
Missouri's game against Georgia scheduled for Saturday at 11:00 in Columbia is still a go...for now. But the Tigers are working through COVID-19 issues this afternoon that could change that.
A source told PowerMizzou.com that the Tigers are going through contact tracing and assessing the numbers on the roster on Tuesday afternoon. Eli Drinkwitz was supposed to address the media at noon in his regularly scheduled press conference, but that was pushed back to 5:15. The team hopes to have more information on the roster situation by that time.
After having multiple players and one assistant coach miss games due to COVID-19 quarantines across the first three weeks of the season, Missouri had been COVID-free for the past few weeks. As of last Thursday, when Drinkwitz last addressed the media, Missouri hadn't reported a player or coach testing positive in about a month — since the week prior to the team's upset of LSU on Oct. 10.
SEC guidelines state that a team should have 53 players available, including at least one quarterback, seven offensive linemen and four defensive linemen to play the following week. Those numbers are not concrete; a team could opt to play with fewer or opt not to with more, but those decisions are made in concert with the league.
If the game is played, a time change is a definite possibility.
Missouri has already been limited on scholarship numbers by NCAA sanctions, opt outs and injuries. They played at Florida with 64 scholarship players available, but three of those are suspended for the first half of this week's game against Georgia after a halftime altercation between the two teams. It is unknown at this time whether Missouri is dealing with the overall number of 53, one of the position specific numbers or both.
The virus has made a comeback in the SEC and across the country this week. Already this week Mississippi State's game against Auburn has been postponed due to an outbreak in the Bulldogs' program. LSU is dealing with issues that have the Tigers down to one quarterback, according to reports, and their game against Alabama is in question. Auburn and Texas A&M have paused activities this week and Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman is out for the Razorbacks' game at Florida.
The game against Georgia, for now, is still scheduled to be played on Saturday. The Tigers have already had a game against Vanderbilt moved back to December 12th due to the Commodores being unable to play. Because Missouri has already used its scheduled open week, the next possibility for the Georgia game to be made up if it has to be postponed would be December 19th. The SEC Championship Game is scheduled for that day, but the league has said that teams not involved in that game may use the day to make up games that had to be pushed back. After Georgia's loss to Florida last weekend, the Bulldogs would need to win out and have Florida lose twice to qualify for that game and it is highly unlikely Missouri can qualify with three league losses already on its resume.
PowerMizzou.com will update this story as we are able.
UPDATE: Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Mizzou had one positive test which has led to the contact tracing issues.