Welcome to this circus, Big Ten.
Today the Charlotte 49ers football team canceled Saturday’s matchup against UNC-Chapel Hill due to a coronavirus outbreak among the squad.
According to a school statement, a number of Charlotte offensive lineman have been placed in quarantine due to the school’s COVID-19 contact tracing guidelines. Without an O-line, the team had no choice but to cancel its upcoming game.
In the past two weeks, Charlotte has reported 3 positive COVID cases on the football team.
“We’re extremely disappointed to have to cancel our game at North Carolina,” Charlotte Athletic Director Mike Hill said in a statement. “While I know our team is heartbroken, due to the number of players in quarantine, we could not safely play.”
Hill said the 49ers have no open dates to reschedule a game with UNC.
UNC head coach Mack Brown, 69, said he is “disappointed we won’t have the chance to play” but “completely understand[s]” Charlotte’s decision.
The Charlotte-UNC game is the fifth college football game of week three to be canceled or postponed. Army vs. BYU, Houston vs. Memphis, Arkansas State vs. Arkansas, and Virginia Tech vs. UVA have all been scrapped because of COVID.
The ACC has already said that the conference needs at least 50 percent (8 out of 15 teams) to play during the week to warrant continuing a season. The conference will have 12 teams playing this week as long as no other team has an outbreak.
The ACC and SEC are the only power 5 conferences to agree to play a non-conference game. In the ACC, the non conference matchup has to be played in the in member schools “home state.”
UNC had their own COVID outbreak on campus in August. The college newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel, called the situation a “clusterfuck” and students were sent home around a week after moving in. The only members of the student body who stayed put during the outbreak were, of course, UNC athletes.
This news of canceled games comes on the heels of the Big Ten’s announcement to start their season in mid October.
If these first three weeks serve as any indication for the future of college football in a pandemic, universities will do whatever it takes to get football on the field until the virus inevitably spreads to the locker room.