Well, it looks like we’re going to have to wait a little longer for the Golden Bears to return to action. On Thursday afternoon, the Pac-12 announced this weekend’s game featuring Cal and Washington has been cancelled due to COVID-19 cases with Cal.
This comes at the worst possible time, as the Pac-12 was the last Power 5 conference to begin their season this weekend. Something to note here is the fact this game has been cancelled, not postponed. With the season starting this late, there are no bye weeks for the Pac 12 this season, meaning there is no time to make this game up.
This means that Cal will play six games at the most this season, with their five remaining regular season games and their game championship weekend.
Earlier this week, a member of the Cal football program tested positive for COVID-19, marking the first positive test within the Cal football program since the start of daily testing at the beginning of October. At this time, the student-athlete who tested positive is asymptomatic.
According to Cal, Head coach Justin Wilcox and Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton agreed that they could not field a competitive team given the number of student-athletes that were affected by this. The Pac-12 approved Cal’s request to cancel the game under the Pac-12’s football game cancelation policy due to the Bears’ inability to have a minimum number of scholarship players available.
“The health and well-being of our student-athletes is always at the forefront of our decision making. We have been diligent in the development and execution of our return-to-play plan, and our goal all along has been to provide a safe environment and to mitigate risk as much as possible. We know how much our team and the greater Cal Athletics community was looking forward to the start of the football season this weekend. While we are disappointed in our inability to play this week, we are confident that we have made the right decision. As we have seen across the country, we knew that there would be COVID-19 challenges, and we will continue to follow our protocols to support the health of our student-athletes.”
“It is very disappointing that we will not be opening our 2020 season this Saturday night against Washington. My heart goes out first and foremost to all of our players who have been through so much since the pandemic began and worked so hard under difficult circumstances to prepare themselves to play. They have done so well following the protocols that have been put in place, but as we are finding out first-hand, playing football during 2020 is a fragile situation.”
Cal is scheduled to travel to Tempe to play Arizona State next weekend. It’s unclear whether or not that game will be played.