Missouri's count of players who will miss the team's season-opener against Alabama on Sept. 26 due to COVID-19 protocols is up to 12, Tigers coach Elijah Drinkwitz said Wednesday. Though not all 12 have necessarily tested positive for the coronavirus, the SEC mandates a 14-day quarantine for those those who have been in "prolonged close contact" with someone who tests positive.
An instance of "prolonged close contact" is when a person has spent 15 minutes within 6 feet of someone in the two days prior to their development of COVID-19 symptoms, according to the SEC's medical guidelines.
"We've got to make due," Drinkwitz said. "We're going to tee it up the 26th, and everybody in Missouri is going to expect that we're prepared. So we're going to get ready."
Drinkwitz did not specify what positions the 12 players represent, and the league has not announced a minimum threshold of players that will be required for games this season. The Big 12 is requiring teams to have at least 53 players, including seven offensive linemen, four interior defensive linemen and one quarterback available for games. The ACC guidelines similarly require teams to have at least seven healthy, scholarship offensive linemen available for games.
Though Drinkwitz said "right now we're fine," the Tigers' count of COVID-19 related absences could still climb as the program is scheduled to undergo more rounds of COVID-19 testing before hosting the Crimson Tide in Drinkwitz's debut a week from Saturday.
"I can't forecast the future," Drinkwitz said. "I just take the results that come to me."