Report: College Football Game Canceled Because of COVID Contact Tracing, Not Positive Tests

Saturday’s Baylor-Houston football game was postponed, the colleges announced Friday.

“This decision comes as a result of Baylor not meeting the Big 12 Conference COVID-19 game cancellation thresholds,” Baylor said in a news release.

According to USA Today, the thresholds require that teams have 53 players for any given game, with at least seven available offensive linemen, four interior defensive linemen and one quarterback.

But what the Baylor release did not say, according to the Baylor sports news website SicEm365, which cited “a source close to the” school’s football program, was that “the Bears would have been without a significant portion of a single position group making it unsafe to play.”

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Some players were ruled ineligible not because they tested positive for the virus, but because of “contact tracing,” according to the report.

The report added: “Due to local [government] guidelines, contact tracing, not positive results of conducted COVID-19 tests on football players and staff members, led to the decision to postpone the game.

“Because of the guidelines in place, multiple Baylor players were set to miss the game as a direct result of contact tracing and not due to positive COVID-19 tests, the source said.

Do these contact tracing rules go overboard?

“Several Baylor players who were set to miss the game did not receive a single positive test, and despite also receiving multiple negative tests in the same time frame, were not allowed to return to team activities because of regulations in place for contact tracing.”

The report noted that many Baylor players, who are tested three times a week, “were set to miss the game against Houston despite the potential of having up to six negative COVID-19 tests over the last two weeks.”

Baylor, like other colleges, has been dealing with the issue of false positives, the report said. According to the rules, no retest provision exists to weed out false positives.

The report provoked discussion on Twitter:

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Citing a Sept. 14 release from Baylor, the report said that as of Monday, six people across the school’s athletic department were testing positive while 23 athletes and staff members across all sports were being monitored.

Contact tracing rules treat those exposed to individuals with the virus much the same as those who actually have it.

“The loss of this game is a devastating blow, but in the interest of the health and safety of our student-athletes, we believe we made the necessary decision,” Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades said in a statement.

“We are incredibly disappointed with the continued delay to the start of our season, and empathize with our student-athletes, fans, coaches, and administrative staff.”

“Baylor contacted us Friday afternoon and determined that Saturday’s game could not be played due to COVID-related issues,” Houston vice president for athletics Chris Pezman added, according to CNN.

“We’re extremely disappointed for our student-athletes, coaches and staff. They all have consistently done the right thing and worked tirelessly to be prepared for this game. We appreciate their dedication to adhering to not only the American’s testing protocols, but the Big 12’s as well.

“With our student-athletes’ commitment to doing the right thing, we remain ready to play.”

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