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College football: Cal’s home game vs. USC postponed because of COVID-19 cases – Santa Cruz Sentinel

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Cal’s home football game scheduled for Saturday against USC has been postponed because of additional COVID-19 cases that have left the Bears without enough players to field a team, the school announced Tuesday afternoon.

The Bears were without seven starters and 24 players, including quarterback Chase Garbers, due to a combination of injuries and COVID protocols over the weekend in a 10-3 loss at Arizona.

The school said in a statement that Saturday’s game was postponed because additional players tested positive for COVID-19 and are unavailable to practice this week or be cleared in time for the game. The team reportedly has a 99 percent vaccination rate among players.

Cal said it has contacted the Pac-12 about rescheduling the game, although it is unclear how realistic that possibility might be. The Pac-12 announced before the season that any team that did not have enough players to compete would be forced to forfeit.

It is the first FBS game called off this season because of coronavirus issues. Last season, four of Cal’s eight scheduled games were canceled because of COVID.

Game Update for Cal Football vs USC this Saturday.

— Cal Athletics (@CalAthletics) November 9, 2021

“It was a difficult decision to postpone this Saturday’s game against USC,” Cal Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton said in a statement. “We know how important every one of our games is to our student-athletes, especially our seniors who have been incredible representatives of the program, but it was the right thing to do. Due to additional impact on specific position groups, we have decided to postpone Saturday’s game. We have had multiple COVID-19 positives within our program, and we are taking every step we can to mitigate the spread and protect the greater community.”

In the statement, Cal coach Justin Wilcox said, “Postponing this game was a last resort and not an action any of us wanted to take, however it was not possible for us to field a team on Saturday.”

Fans with tickets for Saturday’s game will receive direct communication from Cal Athletics.

Cal’s next scheduled game is against Stanford on Nov. 20. The only open date for both teams would be the first weekend of December, when the Pac-12 championship game will be played. If the game cannot be rescheduled, Cal would have to forfeit.

Monday night, Garbers tweeted out his and his teammates’ frustration with how the university’s Health Services had handled COVID testing before the Arizona game, saying, the tests are not mandated and should not be required and that “We have worked too hard to have someone take this all away from us.”

Cal defensive lineman Luc Bequette responded to Garbers’ tweet by saying players were told by the UHS they could be arrested for refusing to test as vaccinated individuals with no symptoms.

“If I understand correctly, I can go to San Francisco, steal a bunch of items in a Walgreens, and not be arrested,” Bequette tweeted. “However, if I refuse a test in Berkeley, I can be …

UHS told us we could be arrested for refusing to test as vaccinated individuals with no symptoms. If I understand correctly, I can go to San Francisco, steal a bunch of items in a Walgreens, and not be arrested. However, if I refuse a test in Berkeley, I can be… https://t.co/dfCiELikMi

— Luc Bequette (@LucBequette) November 9, 2021

The Berkeley Health department requires 10 days of quarantine following a positive test regardless of vaccination status. The Berekley protocols are the most stringent among cities that have Pac-12 campuses.

In August, the Pac-12 amended its rules regarding forfeits after not pinning a loss on a team that could not play because of COVID during the 2020 season.

However, the league also noted that,  “The Pac-12 rule provides the Commissioner with discretion to determine whether an institution is at fault or primarily at fault for an instability to play a contest based on the facts of the situation.”

Please check back for more on this developing story.

This content was originally published here.

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