After games postponed due to COVID-19 cases, Baylor-Houston matchup quickly scheduled

Sam Cooper
·3 min read

Both suddenly left without an opponent for next week due to COVID-19 cases, two Texas schools have quickly arranged to schedule a game.

Baylor announced that it will host Houston on Sept. 19 at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas. The game will start at noon ET and air on Fox. It is the first matchup between the programs since 1995 when both were members of the Southwest Conference.

“We are excited to announce a matchup against Houston at McLane next Saturday,” Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades said. “Our administrative staff, coaches, and student-athletes have worked incredibly hard to prepare for this season, and deserve as many games as possible.”

Added Houston athletic director Chris Pezman: “We are excited to have the opportunity to open the 2020 season at Baylor. It will be exciting for both fan bases to renew this Southwest Conference rivalry.”

FILE - In this Oct. 24, 2015, file photo, a nearly empty McLane Stadium is seen minutes before kickoff between Iowa State and Baylor in an NCAA college football game, in Waco, Texas. Baylor University will look to rebuild its reputation and perhaps its football program after an outside review found administrators mishandled allegations of sexual assault and the team operated under the perception it was above the rules. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
Baylor will host Houston on Saturday, Sept. 19 at McLane Stadium in Waco. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

Baylor, Houston lose games to COVID-19 cases

Baylor was scheduled to open its season on Saturday against Louisiana Tech, but an outbreak of COVID-19 cases among the Louisiana Tech program caused the game to be postponed. Baylor did not have a game scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 19 and begins Big 12 play at home against Kansas on Sept. 26.

Louisiana Tech had 38 players test positive for COVID-19 after Hurricane Laura caused many players to be displaced away from campus.

"It is obvious that the impact of Hurricane Laura in our community a few weeks ago really sparked our significant increase in numbers,” Louisiana Tech athletic director Tommy McClelland said. “With 95 percent of our city losing power for days — even up to a week in many areas — our student-athletes were forced to find places to stay and some even had family from south Louisiana that came northward to stay with them. So many things that we were able to control for the month of August became out of our control, and I think the numbers prove that it took its toll.”

Houston, meanwhile, had its Sept. 18 game against Memphis postponed due to cases on the Memphis team. That would have been Houston’s first game of the season. Memphis opened its season with a win over Arkansas State on Sept. 5. However, the university confirmed Friday that “a number of individuals connected with the Tigers’ football program” recently tested positive for COVID-19.

“These positive tests, along with contact tracing efforts, dictate that a significant number of individuals enter quarantine in accordance with CDC guidelines,” Memphis Athletics said in a statement. “Due to these circumstances, the football team has paused all practice and group activities.”

Memphis said it had “no serious cases at this time” and that the positive tests and subsequent contact tracing “indicate that the majority of cases have been primarily linked to social events outside of official football activities.”

Houston and Memphis will try to reschedule the game at a later date, the American Athletic Conference said on Saturday.

"These are challenging times and we have to remain flexible in our scheduling," Houston athletic director Chris Pezman said. "We understand today's decision and will continue to work with Memphis and the American Athletic Conference to reschedule.”

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