The SEC had gone three weeks without having any games impacted by positive COVID-19 tests or contact tracing. That streak has come to an end. Vanderbilt's road game vs. Missouri slated for Saturday has been postponed due to COVID-19 concerns within the Vanderbilt football program, the conference announced on Monday. The game has been tentatively rescheduled for Dec. 12.
"The league and universities have been prepared for the likelihood of disruptions within the season while we all navigate the various challenges and complexities of competing during a global pandemic. As always, we are committed to taking whatever steps necessary for the health and safety of our students and community," Vanderbilt athletic director Candice Lee said.
The Commodores have been dealing with COVID-19 issues for several weeks and played with only 56 players on their active roster last week in the 41-7 loss to South Carolina. SEC rules state that teams must have at least 53 active scholarship players available each week. The rule also has minimum player availability guidelines for specific positions.
"While we share in the disappointment that this Saturday's game will be postponed, our program is deeply appreciative of the tireless efforts put forth by student-athletes, university officials, conference administrators and medical experts who have risen to the challenge of helping us navigate these unprecedented circumstances," coach Derek Mason said. "The safety and well-being of our student-athletes will remain a top priority as we continue the season, and we look forward to returning to competition."
It is unknown how many Vanderbilt players have tested positive for COVID-19, how many are out due to contact tracing and what positions have been impacted most. NCAA guidelines say that a player who tests positive must sit out for a minimum of 10 days and be symptom-free for three days prior to returning to action. Players who have been in "high risk" contact with individuals who test positive must sit for 14 days. "High risk" contact is defined as being within six feet of an infected individual without a face covering for 15 or more minutes.
The SEC built in an open week on Dec. 12 after the end of the regular season in order for teams to make up games prior to the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 19 in Atlanta.