Baylor's 2020 season-opener vs. Louisiana Tech, originally scheduled for Saturday in Waco, Texas, has been postponed indefinitely, the schools announced on Tuesday after the Bulldogs had 38 players test positive after Hurricane Laura hit Louisiana late last month. That prompted many players to move out of Ruston for more than a week, which caused problems with contact tracing.
"It is obvious that the impact of Hurricane Laura in our community a few weeks ago really sparked our significant increase in numbers, said Louisiana Tech athletic director Tommy McClelland. "With 95% of our city losing power for days -- even up to a week in many areas – our student-athletes were forced to find places to stay and some even had family from south Louisiana that came northward to stay with them. So many things that we were able to control for the month of August became out of our control, and I think the numbers prove that it took its toll. The days leading up to this outbreak, we had a stretch of three weeks with only one positive case. So the protocols we had in place were working prior to Hurricane Laura."
The schools do not share a common bye week and will monitor dates during the season in the hopes of making up the out-of-conference matchup.
"In the interest of the health and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff, we are confident in this unfortunate but necessary course of action," said Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades. "To the Baylor and Louisiana Tech student-athletes and communities, we share in your disappointment and look ahead to resuming play."
The game is just the latest Power Five matchup to be postponed due to COVID-19 outbreaks. An outbreak at Tulsa caused its game against Oklahoma State, also originally scheduled for this weekend, to be postponed. It will now be played on Sept. 19. The battle for the iron skillet between TCU and SMU, which was set to be played Saturday in Fort Worth, has also been pushed to a yet-to-be-determined date later in the season.