Iowa suspends in-person football activities due to COVID-19 ahead of Music City Bowl

Iowa is continuing to prepare for the Music City Bowl despite being unable to practice or work out.

The team said Monday that it was suspending all in-person football activities for five days after an increase in positive COVID-19 tests. The Hawkeyes are set to play Missouri in Nashville on Dec. 30. A five-day pause means that Iowa won’t be able to resume in-person preparation until Dec. 26, though athletic director Gary Barta said the team was confident it could still play in the bowl game.

“As I shared this morning, last week we experienced an increase in positives cases within our football program,” Barta said in a statement. “Our student-athletes returned to testing today and based on additional positive tests and contact tracing, our medical team has made the decision to pause in-person activities for a minimum of five days. We will continue to follow Big Ten Conference medical protocol and participate in daily rapid antigen testing. Based on the information we have available today, we feel confident in our ability to participate in the TransPerfect Music City bowl.”

The suspension of football activities comes days after coach Kirk Ferentz announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. The school said Ferentz was asymptomatic.

The Des Moines Register reported that six coaches and “several” players had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Iowa’s announcement also happened on the same day that Army was tabbed to replace Tennesee in the Liberty Bowl. The Volunteers are unable to play because of COVID-19 cases within their program. Army was initially left out of a bowl game despite a 9-2 record because the Independence Bowl was canceled. The Black Knights have a contractual agreement to play in the Independence Bowl and were left without a game when it was knocked off the schedule.

CHAMPAIGN, IL - DECEMBER 05: An Iowa football helmet sits on the sideline during a college football game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Illinois Fighting Illini on December 5, 2020 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill (Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Iowa (6-2) is slated to play Missouri (5-5) on Dec. 30. (Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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