Florida-LSU is the second SEC game postponed in last three days because of COVID-19

Florida head coach Dan Mullen reacts during the second half of a game against Mississippi.
Florida coach Dan Mullen reacts during a game against Mississippi on Sept. 26 in Oxford, Miss.
(Thomas Graning / Associated Press)

The Southeastern Conference has had to postpone two games in the last three days because of positive COVID-19 tests.

No. 10 Florida’s game against defending national champion LSU was postponed Wednesday to tentatively Dec. 12 after the SEC postponed Missouri-Vanderbilt on Monday. More positive tests could derail other games after the league waited until the end of September to kick off the season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Gators started testing daily Sunday and paused activities Tuesday after 19 positives with about a dozen more quarantined through contract tracing. Athletic director Scott Stricklin said they had 18 positives among scholarship players plus three walk-ons for a total of 21.


That left the Gators with less than 50 scholarship players available. Stricklin said that COVID-19 can sneak up on a team in a hurry and that the key is hitting the brakes.

“The SEC schedule was set up with something with an event like this in mind,” Stricklin said. “As much as we want to give our kids the opportunity to compete, we understand this isn’t a normal year and we’re going to have to have the ability to adapt to unusual circumstances such as this.”

Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason is going through a similar situation.

He said his Commodores (0-3) are a “shell” after he had an estimated group of players in the “high 40s” available for practice Wednesday with a couple of coaches involved in this outbreak. Vanderbilt has an open date Oct. 24 and won’t play again until hosting Mississippi on Oct. 31.

Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin said his Rebels are dealing with their first COVID-19 issue of the season. He called it a “big challenge” for a team already banged up after a very physical game in a 63-48 loss to No. 2 Alabama. His Rebels (1-2) are scheduled to visit Arkansas (1-2) on Saturday.

Kiffin wouldn’t be more specific.

“Just like injuries, we’re not going to get into details on that,” Kiffin said. “We’re just trying to manage it the best we can.

Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt said Monday that he had his entire team together for just the third straight week after testing and that tracing had left players sidelined in isolation or quarantine. Georgia coach Kirby Smart said he knows his team is one exposure away from having an issue.

“We’ve been very fortunate so far, but we don’t have our test results back even from this week,” Smart said Tuesday.