Missouri's football season will be cut one game short in 2020. Due to an increase in positive COVID-19 tests among the Tigers' players, coaches and staff, the program has been forced to bow out of the TransPerfect Music City Bowl.
The spike in positive cases has forced Missouri to pause all team activities through Jan. 2. The Tigers' bowl-game appearance against No. 15 Iowa was set for Dec. 30.
Director of Athletics Jim Sterk announced the news on Sunday afternoon.
"Since concluding our regular season and conducting four rounds of tests over the last eight days, we have seen a significant increase in positive COVID-19 tests among our student-athletes, coaches and staff, and after consulting with local health officials, our team physicians and MU Health's Dr. Steve Whitt, who is our representative on the SEC Medical Task Force, we unfortunately must pause all football team-related activities until at least January 2 to help contain the virus' spread and ensure the health and well-being of everyone within our program and the community," Sterk said.
"Our student-athletes have been extremely diligent in following all of the SEC's COVID-19 testing protocols since returning to campus back in the summer, and we are incredibly proud of their efforts to play every regular-season game this fall, as well as the success they have had on the field against a 10-game all-SEC schedule that included five games against nationally-ranked opponents, and in the classroom during the fall semester.
"However, this eight-day uptick within our program is significant and has made it impossible for us to play in the bowl game, which I know comes as a disappointment to our student-athletes, coaches and fans, who were excited about the opportunity to play a great Iowa team in Nashville."
Missouri was one of the many SEC teams with disappointing records to earn a bowl-game berth this year.
If anything, this unfortunate turn of events is more upsetting for Iowa. As heavy favorites in the game, the Hawkeyes would've had a chance to extend their solid win streak to seven games.
Sadly, this is just how things have gone in this unprecedented season. This is the 17th bowl game canceled as a result of COVID-19 concerns.
Hopefully the rest of the 2020 bowl-game schedule can remain in tact.