The California Golden Bears are certainly one of four teams that have yet to play a Pac-12 football game this season. However, they’re truly the only ones right now that are in jeopardy of not playing a game within the first two weeks of the season.
Cal had to cancel their first game of the season against the Washington Huskies due to a COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent contact tracing protocols that left them without the requisite number of scholarship student-athletes to field a team under the Pac-12’s 2020 guidelines.
The Utah Utes had a similar outbreak and had to cancel their game against the Arizona Wildcats, giving the conference just four games instead of six during their opening weekend of games. However, as late as Wednesday night, Utah was on the button with the minimum number of athletes ready to play their now-season-opening game against UCLA, barring any more positive tests.
Cal, however, can’t say the same as their new ‘season-opener’ is continually in jeopardy with multiple players in quarantine.
According to multiple reports, the Cal vs Arizona State Sun Devils game is in serious jeopardy of being canceled due to both quarantine and contact tracing related to a single positive case of COVID-19 on Cal’s roster.
Optimism was crushed on Tuesday night when the City of Berkeley Public Health Division stated that they would not let quarantine members to be released.
According to a statement to ESPN, the City of Berkeley Public Health Division said there is no further decision pending and that Cal should use their original timeline as their guidance.
“The University was made aware last week of the timeline for when the case will end their isolation period and for when the contacts will end their quarantine,” city spokesman Matthai Chakko said in a statement. “The team should use that information as a timeline for return of those individuals to the field. No further direction is pending from the City.”
The positive test came early last week and Cal’s entire defensive line is in quarantine, unscheduled to exit outside of the 14-day mandated period of quarantine determined for those that have or may have come in contact with a positive test. That means the earliest they could be released is November 17.
The players in quarantine have continued to test negative for COVID-19, but those negative tests do not allow a player to exit quarantine due to the virus’ 14-day incubation period, Chakko said.
Head coach Justin Wilcox went on to say earlier this week that he was told by Cal’s athletic administration that he would learn of the team’s fate to play their game on Wednesday. However, Wednesday came and went with no new news.
“They told me there’s a chance that we would play,” Wilcox said.
With quotes from other Pac-12 coaches outside of the state of California, most notably from Washington’s Jimmy Lake, expressing their concern over the fact that had the roles been reversed, they probably would have been able to play, Wilcox was asked if he and the football team had given thought to moving training facilities for this season.
“The football program will do anything, whether it’s practice protocols meeting protocol, whatever we need to do in order to play, but the decision will remain with the athletic administration and the university. We recognize the significance of the virus. This is not minimizing the virus.
“What we want to know is how we can be better so these things don’t happen. Obviously, we don’t want to spread it to the community. We want to be good neighbors and members of the community. We are just looking for some feedback on how to do it better. There are some guys in quarantine that are not sure why they’re in quarantine.”
For more on all of the breaking news and full stories on Cal’s contact-tracing requirements as well as their COVID-19 cases, here are your daily links:
Cal-ASU in jeopardy | ESPN
Cal’s status to play still uncertain | 247Sports
Cal football still awaiting OK to play again | San Francisco Chronicles