SEC postpones LSU-Florida game as Gators deal with outbreak

The Southeastern Conference postponed Saturday’s game between No. 10 Florida and defending national champion LSU a day after the Gators had 19 players test positive for COVID-19.

Posted: Oct 14, 2020 3:27 PM

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — No. 10 Florida and defending national champion LSU are now scheduled to play in December. Unfortunately for coach Dan Mullen, the stadium still won't be packed.

The Southeastern Conference postponed Saturday’s LSU-Florida game a day after Mullen had 19 players and coaches test positive for COVID-19. Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin said Wednesday the number is now up to 21 positives with considerably more in quarantine because of contract tracing.

Those players likely would have been unavailable against the Tigers, leaving Florida with fewer than 50 scholarship athletes and less than the SEC's threshold (53) for holding games amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The game was tentatively rescheduled for Dec. 12, the league's built-in bye week before its annual championship. It's the second SEC game bumped this week, following Missouri-Vanderbilt.

Florida hosts Missouri next, on October 24, and that game also could be in jeopardy.

“Hopefully we don’t have any more positives and we’re able to get on the other side of this and then we can get everyone back in a situation where you can go compete again,” Stricklin said.

Florida paused team activities Tuesday after seeing a spike in positives. Mullen said two assistant coaches also tested positive. The Gators have since moved to everyday testing and and halted meetings and practices indefinitely.

Stricklin suggested traveling to Texas A&M may have been the root of the team's outbreak, with two players who later tested positive telling team doctors they had symptoms before getting on a plane last Friday. One had a runny nose, the other a headache.

Neither told anyone, which Stricklin said would be addressed. He also hinted at potentially looking at tweaking travel protocols.

“I really think it could be as simple as not understanding symptoms,” Stricklin said, pointing to Florida having 10 positives over the previous 11 weeks. "I know people personally who have had the sniffles and a friend of theirs was COVID positive, so they went and got tested and found out they had it. They thought they just had something pretty common. ...

"As a college student, you have those things and it’s not uncommon. But in a COVID environment, it’s so important that we are hypersensitive to being diligent on that front. I don’t know that this was a situation where someone goes, ‘I don’t feel well, but I’m going to power through it.’ I think this is a situation where someone felt like, ‘I’ve got a sniffle, I need a Kleenex and I’m ready to play a game.’”

Florida's shutdown came three days after Mullen’s comments about wanting to pack 90,000 fans inside Florida Field to create a better home-field advantage against the Tigers. Mullen didn’t double down Monday, but he didn’t back down, either.

He brushed aside criticism and praised his guys for how well they have handled COVID safety protocols.

He finally backtracked two days later, apologizing “if I offended people or anybody out there.”

“One of the things I want to encourage was whatever our local health officials come and out say, ‘This is the number of people that we’re going to allow at the game right now,'” Mullen said. “I want to encourage those people to come in, bring the energy, bring the excitement into the stadium and help our team to win and bring that energy that they bring of what makes the Swamp such a special place to go play in.”

Stricklin made it clear Wednesday that Mullen overstepped his area of expertise and added that the plan for the rest of 2020 would be to allow up to 17,000 fans (25% capacity) at Florida Field for home games.

“That number will change one day. I don’t know when they’ll change,” Stricklin said. "But until that changes, this is where we’re going to be.”

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 315026

Reported Deaths: 7257
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21684260
Hinds20385416
Harrison17973309
Rankin13650278
Jackson13456246
Madison10130217
Lee9988174
Jones8388163
Forrest7701152
Lauderdale7198240
Lowndes6411148
Lamar624686
Lafayette6210119
Washington5342134
Bolivar4804132
Oktibbeha463298
Panola4601107
Pearl River4524146
Marshall4454103
Warren4397121
Pontotoc421172
Monroe4120133
Union411276
Neshoba4033176
Lincoln3972110
Hancock380287
Leflore3500125
Sunflower336490
Tate335484
Pike3330105
Scott316773
Alcorn313670
Yazoo311870
Itawamba300877
Copiah297865
Coahoma295979
Simpson295388
Tippah289068
Adams288682
Prentiss280360
Marion269680
Leake268673
Wayne262941
Grenada261987
Covington260381
George249448
Newton246963
Winston227881
Tishomingo227567
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw208457
Holmes189174
Clay185654
Stone183033
Tallahatchie179041
Clarke178180
Calhoun170932
Yalobusha164838
Smith162734
Walthall134345
Greene130633
Lawrence129324
Montgomery127242
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121929
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107233
Tunica105726
Claiborne102530
Benton100125
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67631
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 540267

Reported Deaths: 11038
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson798791529
Mobile41295809
Madison35175506
Tuscaloosa25932455
Shelby25309249
Montgomery24736593
Baldwin21422310
Lee15997172
Calhoun14577319
Morgan14431280
Etowah13927353
Marshall12280225
Houston10650282
Elmore10158206
Limestone10075151
St. Clair9955245
Cullman9773194
Lauderdale9465243
DeKalb8866188
Talladega8344176
Walker7261278
Autauga7010108
Jackson6840112
Blount6776139
Colbert6322135
Coffee5583118
Dale4878113
Russell445938
Chilton4383113
Franklin426382
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4044153
Escambia395177
Chambers3598123
Dallas3569153
Clarke351561
Marion3140101
Pike312077
Lawrence303698
Winston275873
Bibb264864
Geneva254178
Marengo249865
Pickens234862
Barbour232056
Hale224078
Butler219069
Fayette213162
Henry190043
Cherokee184845
Randolph182542
Monroe178241
Washington167839
Macon161350
Clay157257
Crenshaw153657
Cleburne149641
Lamar143336
Lowndes140753
Wilcox127430
Bullock123342
Conecuh110829
Coosa109228
Perry107826
Sumter105032
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
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