Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat

FSU coach Norvell tests positive for virus before Miami

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Florida State coach Mike Norvell has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not coach the Seminoles in-person this week as they prepare for Miami.

Norvell released a statement Saturday saying he tested positive a day earlier but is feeling fine. He said his wife and daughter tested negative Saturday.

Florida State athletic director David Coburn said Norvell is isolating, which lasts a minimum of 10 days.

“We will continue to test staff and student-athletes as we have been,” Coburn said in a statement. “We have communicated with Commissioner John Swofford and Miami athletic director Blake James. At this point, based on our testing this week, we have no reason to believe that the Miami game is in jeopardy.”

While that game is still on, COVID-19 complications caused more schedule rearrangement Saturday.

Memphis announced that it needed another week off to get through its issues and canceled its nonconference game against Texas-San Antonio that was scheduled for Friday. The Tigers were supposed to play Houston this weekend but that game was postponed after a COVID-19 outbreak among Memphis’ players.

“While we project our quarantine and isolation numbers to improve next week, we felt it was in the best interest of the health and safety of our student-athletes to make this decision now,” Memphis athletic director Laird Veatch said in a statement.

Memphis announced it added FCS Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 21 and UTSA said instead of the Tigers it will play Middle Tennessee in a Conference USA game on Friday.

In Tallahassee, Florida, deputy head coach Chris Thomsen is taking over Norvell’s duties, but the first-year Florida State head coach said he still intends to contribute.

“I will remain involved remotely as much as possible to help our team continue to prepare,” Norvell said. “I’m grateful to the administration, players and staff for their commitment to the protocols we have in place, which have helped us limit contact with others and allowed us to continue moving forward.”

Thomsen has 24 years of college coaching experience and was head coach at Division II Abilene Christian from 2005-11, where he went 51-21.

Florida State lost its season opener at home to Georgia Tech last week and was off Saturday. The Seminoles play at the rival Hurricanes next Saturday.

Norvell, who came to Florida State from Memphis after last regular season, is the first major college football coach known to have tested positive for the coronavirus in season.

Toledo coach Jason Candle and UCLA coach Chip Kelly tested positive earlier this year.

Baylor-Houston postponed day before game

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Baylor’s season opener against Houston, scheduled less than a week ago, was one of two Bowl Subdivision games postponed Friday – the day before before they were supposed to play.

Florida Atlantic’s opener against Georgia Southern was postponed earlier in the day, following the results of FAU’s COVID-19 testing Thursday. In both cases, the schools involved said they would try to find make-up dates.

The postponements illustrate the uncertainty surrounding college sports. The number of FBS games postponed or canceled because of COVID-19 issues since Aug. 26 is 16 and the pandemic’s impact is being felt in other sports; one of college basketball’s premier tournaments is moving from Hawaii to North Carolina and the NCAA delayed the start of the basketball season to Nov. 25.

Athletes are scrambling too: Minnesota star receiver Rashod Bateman has re-joined his team after opting out of the season, and hopes to be able to play when the Big Ten starts in late October. A similar return played out earlier this week at Ohio State.

The Pac-12 could be next to get back in the game. The conference’s university presidents met Friday. A statement from the league said the CEO Group had “an informative and productive meeting.”

“We plan to reconvene this coming Thursday, Sept. 24 to make a decision regarding possible return to play prior to January 1,” the group said in a statement. “The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports will continue to be our number one priority in all of our decision making.”

In putting off its opener, Baylor said it was unable to meet COVID-19 roster thresholds set by the Big 12. The school did not provide specifics on the players or positions affected by the coronavirus or the number of players who were quarantined due to contact tracing; on Monday, it said it had six active cases across its athletic programs and that 23 total cases were being monitored.

Baylor is scheduled to open its Big 12 season next week against Kansas. The Big 12 said that game is still on for now, but Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades told SicEm365 Radio in Waco, Texas, he had not yet spoken to Kansas athletic director Jeff Long.

“Within this particular position group we can’t take on any more water,” Rhoades said.

The Big 12 said a minimum 53-player roster is necessary to play a game, and must include at least seven offensive linemen, four defensive linemen and one quarterback.

On Friday, the Southeastern Conference released similar thresholds with one key difference. The SEC said it would only count scholarship players among those minimums. The Big 12’s minimums include walk-ons.

“We’re heartbroken from this postponement,” said Dave Aranda, the former LSU defensive coordinator still waiting to make his debut as Baylor’s coach. “While we’ve been eager to play football this fall, we have all made a commitment to only do so with the highest level of safety and care for our student-athletes.”

The game between Baylor and Houston was scheduled only a week ago after the former Southwest Conference rivals both had their original openers put off because of the virus.

Baylor was supposed to play last Saturday against Louisiana Tech, which had widespread COVID-19 positive tests.

Houston was scheduled to play Friday night against Memphis, but the American Athletic Conference postponed that game last weekend after the Tigers had numerous players test positive.

Houston has now had four games postponed or canceled, including one against Washington State originally scheduled for Sept. 12 that was lost when the Pac-12 initially decided to play only conference foes. The Pac-12 subsequently postponed the fall season altogether but is now reconsidering, with a possible late October or early November start.

The Cougars are scheduled to play North Texas next week.

“We’re extremely disappointed for our student-athletes, coaches and staff,” Houston AD Chris Pezman said. “They all have consistently done the right thing and worked tirelessly to be prepared for this game.”

Memphis-Houston set for Friday postponed

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Memphis’ prime-time game against Houston set for Friday night has been postponed.

The American Athletic Conference announced the decision Saturday, a day after Memphis paused football practice and all group activities for the team because a “number of individuals” with the program had tested positive for COVID-19.

The Tigers already lost a game at Purdue previously scheduled for Saturday when the Big Ten canceled its fall football season Aug. 11. The conference says the Houston game will be rescheduled for a later date.

Memphis officials say the positive tests and contact tracing indicate most of the cases are linked to social events outside of team activities. Combined with contract tracing, Memphis says a “significant number” are in quarantine in keeping with CDC guidelines. Officials say there are no serious cases but that all players and staff affected are being closely monitored.

The Tigers opened the season by beating Arkansas State 37-24 on Sept. 5. Their next scheduled game is Sept. 25 at UT San Antonio.