Washington-Cal football game canceled after Cal player tests positive for coronavirus

California coach Justin Wilcox talks to an official during a game against UCLA on Nov. 30, 2019, at the Rose Bowl.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The football game between California and Washington scheduled for Saturday was canceled Thursday because the Golden Bears don’t have enough players available after a team member tested positive for the coronavirus.

“The Pac-12 has approved a request from Cal to cancel the Washington at Cal football game scheduled for November 7,” the conference said in a statement. “This decision was made under the Pac-12’s football game cancellation policy due to Cal not having the minimum number of scholarship players available for the game as a result of a positive football student-athlete COVID-19 case and resulting isolation of additional football student-athletes under contact tracing protocols.

“Under Conference policy, the game will be declared a no-contest. The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 football programs will continue to be our number one priority.”


At least 53 scholarship players must be available for a game to be played, according to conference guidelines.

Cal coach Justin Wilcox said Wednesday that contact tracing was underway for a “significant” number of players. The game was to be the season opener for both teams.

“It is very disappointing that we will not be opening our 2020 season this Saturday night against Washington,” Wilcox said. “My heart goes out first and foremost to all of our players who have been through so much since the pandemic began and worked so hard under difficult circumstances to prepare themselves to play. They have done so well following the protocols that have been put in place, but as we are finding out first-hand, playing football during 2020 is a fragile situation.”

In a statement, Washington athletic director Jennifer Cohen said: “Our students, coaches and staff have put in an incredible amount of hard work to get to this point and we are deeply disappointed they won’t have the opportunity to compete Saturday in Berkeley.”

Cal is scheduled to play at Arizona State on Nov. 14 and Washington is scheduled to host Oregon State on the same day.