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TCU Football’s opener against SMU delayed

“Aggressive testing” revealed enough positive COVID tests to force the game to be delayed.

West Virginia v TCU
We are going to have to wait a little longer to see this again.
Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

COVID 1, TCU Football 0.

The Horned Frogs first game of the season, scheduled for Friday, September 11th, has been delayed, according to an announcement made by TCU Athletics Friday afternoon. “We are disappointed to announce that our upcoming football game against SMU will not be played as scheduled on September 11,” Athletic Director Jeremiah Donati said. “We have agreed with SMU to monitor dates throughout the season to potentially make up the game.”

Rumors began to swirl earlier in the week that several position groups had been impacted by positive COVID-19 tests, a result of protocols put into place by the Big 12 Conference for high-contact sports. TCU, and other programs, are testing student-athletes up to three times per week as practices get into full swing. It’s a strategy that seems to be working, and did its job in this case. “In the course of following CDC guidelines and our aggressive testing and contact tracing strategy, we discovered that some student-athletes and support staff in our football program have tested positive for COVID-19, Donati continued. “Those individuals were notified immediately and are currently abiding by CDC protocols.”

Donati confirmed that “no one is currently facing serious health issues, and we intend to continue our enforcement of strict standards to protect the program and our community.”

The opening of TCU’s campus to students for in-person and online learning, has led to a spike in cases amongst the university’s community. The campus is amongst the leaders in reported positive cases, with 965 total cases reported since March and 161 cases currently active among on-campus students. Reports of parties and large gatherings have led to administrators all but begging students to take mask and social-distancing guidelines seriously, with the threat of an impending move to all online courses looming. Maybe the loss of the first football game of the season will get them to shape up.

Donati made it clear that while game one won’t be played on September 11th, the season is still expected to go on. “Everyone’s health and safety remains our top priority. We share in your disappointment, but firmly believe we will be ready to resume football activities soon. We will continue to follow prevention and testing protocols and look forward to our Big 12 Conference opener against Iowa State on September 26.”

The Horned Frogs have several bye weeks built into the reduced 2020 schedule, but filling one with a non-conference opponent may not be in the cards. Positive cases are certain to crop up throughout the season, and the flexibility of the extra byes might best be saved for counter games later this fall.