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Big 12 Announces New Player Thresholds For Canceling Games Due To COVID-19

Gary Patterson leading his TCU football team onto the field for a Big 12 football game.

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 20: Head coach Gary Patterson of the TCU Horned Frogs prepares to take the field with hois team to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 20, 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas. The Texas Tech Red Raiders beat the TCU Horned Frogs 56-53 in triple overtime. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Just minutes ago, the first college football game involving a Big 12 team on the schedule was postponed. TCU football was set to host SMU next Friday, but it has been pushed due to positive COVID-19 tests within the Horned Frogs program.

“No one is currently facing serious health issues, and we intend to continue our enforcement of strict standards to protect the program and our community. Everyone’s health and safety remains our top priority,” TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati said in a statement. The two sides are looking to make up the game later this year, though SMU and TCU football don't share an open date until after Dec. 5, as of now.

After that news came down, the Big 12 rolled out its policy for game cancellations and postponements due to positive COVID-19 tests. While college football rosters can feature over 100 players including walk-ons, the new protocol will set the minimum number of players required to play at 53. There are also individual minimums set for positions.

Each team must have at least one quarterback, seven offensive linemen, and four interior defensive linemen active and able to play. If a team desires, they can play even if they don't meet these thresholds, should they have other options to plug into those spots, but otherwise with approval of commissioner Bob Bowlsby, the game can be postponed if possible or ruled a "no contest."

It isn't a major surprise that this has happened, though it may be disconcerting that it happened this early in the season. The return of student bodies to campuses across the country have brought increased risk to campuses though, so maybe this will be the riskiest part of the college football season, with the most time to reschedule any cancellations necessary. It's hard to know at this point.

FCS ball started last weekend, with Central Arkansas beating Austin Peay. The CAU Bears were back in action last night, falling to UAB 45-35 in the first game involving an FBS team. South Alabama beat Southern Miss in the first all-FBS game last night, 32-21.

UAB travels to Miami next Thursday for the first game with a Power Five team. Other ACC and Big 12 teams kick off on Saturday, including ranked squads like Clemson, Iowa State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, UCF, and UNC. Hopefully those are all able to be played without issue.

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