Memphis football’s game against Houston next week is set to be one of the biggest in the AAC this season. That is, if it can be played safely, after a major COVID-19 outbreak within the Tigers’ roster.
Per a new report by The Commercial Appeal, at least 20 players on the Tigers roster tested positive for the coronavirus this week. Another 20-plus are being quarantined as part of contact tracing efforts. Players involved are being isolated for 10-days, according to the report. The outbreak is being attributed to a post-game celebration after the Tigers’ season-opening win against Arkansas State.
The Tigers beat the Red Wolves 37-24 last Saturday night. After the game, a number of players reportedly went on a party bus. Per the report, the majority of the positive tests are on the defensive side of the ball.
Memphis conducted three antigen tests the week before the Arkansas State game. The team was also test Sunday. The Tigers were not scheduled to play this weekend.
Reporting with @mgiannotto and @munzly: Memphis has at least 20 people within the football program who have tested positive for COVID-19 and "at least 20" more who are in quarantine due to contact tracing according to multiple sources.https://t.co/kqxBlgJrls
— Evan Barnes〽️ (@evan_b) September 11, 2020
Moments ago, Memphis confirmed that it is pausing team activities after the outbreak. According to the school, there are no serious cases reported so far, which is good news.
Memphis has paused team activities after multiple positive COVID-19 tests linked to a social event outside of official football activities. pic.twitter.com/uiA1akPT9H
— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) September 11, 2020
“More detail, including the status of the game against the University of Houston scheduled for Friday, Sept. 18, will be provided early next week after consulting with the AAC COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group,” the release reads.
We’ve already seen a few games postponed during this early season. Tonight, TCU was supposed to open play for Big 12 teams with a game against SMU, but the Horned Frogs had an outbreak that pushed that game back.
Hopefully Memphis football can get guys cleared soon and play the game against Houston, but with 10-day quarantines, it seems unlikely. The game is currently scheduled for next Friday, Sept. 18, at 7:30 p.m. ET at Memphis’ Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
Update: Memphis defensive lineman O’Bryan Goodson is calling the party bus portion of the report into question, and casting blame on Arkansas State.
Lies Dog! Nobody Had A Party Nor Was On A Party Bus!! Arkansas St needs to be the ones Tested❗️ We’ve been doing what we’re supposed to do , all this came after we played them! https://t.co/5YPJBw2Dx4
— OB Goodson Jr. #️⃣1️⃣ (@OBryanGoodson) September 11, 2020
Teams throwing accusations at their opponents days after the fact is certainly not what you want to see if you want a full-ish college football season this fall.
In any event, hopefully Memphis gets things under control soon.