John Raoux/Associated Press
The University of Florida’s football program is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak that may force a postponement of Saturday’s game against LSU, according to The Athletic’s G. Allan Taylor.
Florida paused football activities Tuesday after revealing five positive cases, but Taylor reported there are 19 positive cases within the program and another 10 players in quarantine because of possible exposure.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron said Wednesday that he would support a postponement.
“If the best thing for us is not to play, we shouldn’t play,” he told reporters.
SEC guidelines state that at least 53 scholarship players must be active for a game, and Taylor reported that “most of the 29 players currently sidelined are on scholarship.” The 53 players must include seven offensive linemen, four defensive linemen and a quarterback, and according to Taylor, the Gators may not meet the requirement in one position area.
Taylor also reported that a number of players are working through injuries, including offensive lineman Ethan White, backup quarterback Emory Jones and safety Brad Stewart, with Stewart in the concussion protocol.
If they cannot produce a 53-player roster, the Gators can still elect to play, but as Taylor noted, “that would put a great deal of stress on the roster.”
Should the LSU game be postponed, it will likely be moved to Dec. 12, the same day Missouri is scheduled to play Vanderbilt after a COVID-19 outbreak at Vanderbilt forced last week’s contest to be moved.
Teams in the SEC are tested for COVID-19 three times per week, though Florida has elected to be tested daily since Saturday. Players who test positive can return to football activities within 10 days, but players who are exposed must quarantine for two weeks. Any player who returns a positive test does not need to be retested for 90 days and does not need to quarantine in the event they have contact with a new positive case.
At Florida, 37 players have tested positive through 1,796 tests administered since May 26. No players have been hospitalized, per Taylor.