The first three weeks of the 2020 SEC football season went as well as anyone could have asked for. Yes, there were positive tests that popped up among teams heading into the season, but you have to tip your cap to how well the conference, coaches, players, and universities handled things through the first three weeks.
Unfortunately, Week 4 isn’t being too kind to the SEC.
On Monday, the conference announced that the Missouri-Vanderbilt game scheduled for October 17 had been rescheduled for December 12 after Vanderbilt received positive test results and doesn’t have enough available players to play the game. Shortly after the Vandy-Mizzou news, Florida announced that it had paused all football activities after receiving at least 19 positive tests and the Gators’ marquee matchup against LSU on Saturday has reportedly been postponed as well.
On Wednesday, Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin revealed that the Rebels are “having an issue” with the virus as well. Ole Miss hosted Alabama this past Saturday and is scheduled to travel to Arkansas to play the Razorbacks on Saturday afternoon.
“For the first time we are having an issue with that,” Kiffin said. “I’m not going to get into the numbers. It’s very difficult moving people around, and we’re already beat up to from high play count Saturday vs. great team.”
The SEC does have requirements for the number of players teams must have in order to play a game. Teams must have 53 scholarship players, including seven offensive linemen, one quarterback and four defensive linemen. While Kiffin didn’t get into specific numbers about positive tests, he did say Ole Miss would have enough players to meet those requirements and “play today.”
It’s likely just a coincidence, but the NFL suffered its first coronavirus outbreak after three weeks of play as well as the Titans received a high number of positive tests after their Week 3 matchup against the Vikings.