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Utah's season-opening football game canceled due to COVID-19 cases

Utes were scheduled to face Arizona on Saturday
Kyle Whittingham
Posted at 12:38 PM, Nov 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-06 19:22:48-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah's season opening football game against Arizona has been canceled after players tested positive for COVID-19.

Utah was scheduled to open the pandemic-delayed season Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

"The decision was made following the Pac-12s football game cancellation policy as Utah does not have the minimum number of scholarship student-athletes available for the game due to the positive cases and resulting isolation of additional football student-athletes under contract tracing protocols." the Utah Athletics Department released in a statement.

"The health and safety of our student-athletes and all associated with our program is our highest priority and we will continue to follow all applicable Pac-12 and local health policies and guidelines." the school said.

The game vs. Arizona will not be rescheduled. Utah is next scheduled to face UCLA in Los Angeles on Friday, Nov. 15.

“As difficult as this is, there is no question it is the right decision to make. Our student-athletes’ health and well-being is absolutely paramount and we will not put them at risk." said Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham. "Our team has worked extremely hard to get to this point, and we will continue to care for our students-athletes and follow all protocols very thoroughly as we prepare for next week’s game.”

The cancellation comes a day after the Cal-Washington game was called off due to positive COVID-19 cases. The Pac-12 is the last conference in college football to begin its season during the pandemic.

"The cancellation of this game, following yesterday’s cancellation of the Washington at Cal football game, is of course incredibly disappointing to our student-athletes and our fans. At the same time it is an indication that our health and safety protocols are working in identifying positive cases and contact tracing cases. While all of us want to see our football student-athletes on the field competing, our number one priority must continue to be the health and safety of all those connected to Pac-12 football programs.” the conference said in a statement.