NC State Wolfpack

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor becomes 3rd Big 12 team to postpone opener after La Tech outbreak


WACO, Texas — Baylor became the third Big 12 team forced to postpone its scheduled season opener this weekend after Louisiana Tech reported multiple positive COVID-19 tests Tuesday, less than two weeks after a hurricane affected its campus.

Louisiana Tech athletic director Tommy McClelland said Tuesday night that it wasn’t possible for the Bulldogs to play Saturday at Baylor because of the positive tests and contact tracing that would keep other players out the game.

The school didn’t provide any specific numbers, but said there was a spike in cases in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura on Aug. 27 that impacted the campus in Ruston, Louisiana, which is more than 200 miles inland. McClelland the school had only one positive case in the three weeks before the current outbreak, an indication that protocols in place were working.

“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,” McClelland said. “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.”

No makeup date was announced.

The Louisiana Tech-Baylor game is the 10th Division I game that has been postponed because of the novel coronavirus, including Big 12 games SMU at TCU and Tulsa at Oklahoma State. The other postponed games are: North Carolina State at Virginia Tech, Temple at Navy, ULM at Troy, Marshall at East Carolina, and three Rice games – against Houston, Marshall and UAB.

TCU had to put off its scheduled opener Friday night after a virus outbreak last week among a cluster of Horned Frogs players and support staff. Oklahoma State has pushed back its opener against Tulsa a week to Sept. 19 after the Golden Hurricane were limited during preseason camp because of multiple positive tests.

Seven Big 12 teams are still scheduled to play Saturday.

“We are incredibly disappointed to announce the postponement of our upcoming football game against Louisiana Tech,” Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades said. “However, 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. To the Baylor and Louisiana Tech student-athletes and communities, we share in your disappointment and look ahead to resuming play.”

The game was supposed to be the debut of new Baylor head coach Dave Aranda, the defensive coordinator last season for 15-0 national champion LSU. He replaced Matt Rhule, who was hired by the NFL’s Carolina Panthers after three seasons with the Bears.

NC State clears football, other sports to resume

Ken Ruinard-The Greenville News

North Carolina State has cleared football and other programs to resume athletic activities after a cluster of coronavirus cases among Wolfpack athletes.

In a statement Saturday, athletics director Boo Corrigan says the football program is set to resume activities Monday.

The school had paused all athletics activities earlier this week, then announced Friday that 12 programs were cleared to resume workouts. But football and several other programs remained on hold, including men’s and women’s tennis, and men’s and women’s track and field.

The athletics department lifted that remaining hold Saturday.

Because of the spike in cases, he school had to postpone its Sept. 12 football game against Virginia Tech by two weeks.

NC State at Va Tech postponed 2 weeks amid COVID-19 cases

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina State’s season-opener at Virginia Tech was postponed for two weeks Wednesday because of a cluster of COVID-19 cases among Wolfpack athletes.

The delay comes two days after N.C. State paused all athletic activities. The school didn’t specify which programs were impacted when it announced a cluster of 27 positive cases tied to athletics. Spokesman Fred Demarest tweeted Monday there had been 22 positives among athletes, coaches and staff in the most recent round of 693 tests.

N.C. State has announced numerous coronavirus clusters in the past week after students returned to campus, including at sorority or fraternity houses as well as on-campus residence halls and off-campus apartments. The school announced last week that it was moving to online-only instruction for undergraduate courses but would keep on-campus housing open.

By Wednesday afternoon, however, chancellor Randy Woodson announced the school is instructing students to begin moving out of campus housing over the next 11 days to “reduce the on-campus population significantly.”

Demarest said the majority of Wolfpack athletes live off-campus. Those who don’t will be able to apply for a waiver if necessary.

Moving the game from Sept. 12 to Sept. 26 is the Atlantic Coast Conference’s first disruption of the conference schedule since the league announced plans to go ahead with the season, though some programs have had to find new nonconference opponents after other schools called off fall sports.

“We appreciate the ACC and Virginia Tech working together in partnership to move this game to a mutual open weekend,” N.C. State athletic director Boo Corrigan said. “There’s no blueprint for what we’re all trying to navigate and we are grateful for everyone’s collaboration to make this work.”

The ACC, Southeastern Conference and Big 12 are the only three Power Five conferences that opted to try to play in the fall amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Big Ten and Pac-12, as well as virtually every other lower-level conference, have put off fall sports and are instead hoping to play in the spring.

Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente on Tuesday called it a “very fluid situation.”

“It’s like you walk off the practice field and you’re just waiting for the new news that’s happened,” he said. “It’s not a daily thing. It’s almost an hourly update, and I think that’s going to be the normal. … Who knows? Opponents can change and schedules can change. You’re going to have to go with the flow a little bit.”

Virginia Tech has declined thus far to release results of its coronavirus testing.

In the ACC, a July report by the league’s medical advisory group outlined testing and other safety protocols. Those included having athletes who test positive be isolated for at least 10 days before receiving medical clearance to return. Additionally, anyone required to quarantine for 14 days after contact tracing must complete that before returning.

Both teams are now scheduled to open the season with instate ACC matchups Sept. 19: N.C. State will host Wake Forest, while Virginia Tech will host Virginia.

Virginia’s original opener, against VMI, was canceled when the Keydets canceled their season.